Posts tagged hope
Using art to help child survivors of war find joy again — with Bethany Williams
 

“Sometimes these children just don’t have the words to express the trauma they’ve been through. That’s a reason why I believe the arts — art, dance, drama, music and drawing — are so powerful in bringing us to the next level of healing.” 

BETHANY WILLIAMS, Ph.D., Founder, Exile International  

Orphans. War. Child soldiers. Displacement. Abuse of nearly every form. Topics like these often feel so astronomically huge that we don’t know what to do or where to begin — let alone feel as if our tiny effort could actually make a difference.

Thankfully there are people like Bethany Williams in the world who not only refuse to buy into that narrative, but decide to do something about changing it.

Bethany is world leader at helping restore children — emotionally, psychologically and spiritually — who have been affected by war and who can’t yet imagine a life worth celebrating again. Bethany pulls from her own hurt and brokenness (documented in her book The Color of Grace) as well as her training as a psychologist and counselor to help these children. And it all starts with art therapy that includes a white handkerchief and some markers. It is on a simple yet symbolic handkerchief that children can express in pictures what they don’t even have words for. It is where the pain within can safely be expressed to initiate the process of healing.

Led by Bethany and her husband Matthew, Exile International is going into the darkest places to do this difficult and often emotionally devastating work. But thanks to that willingness, there is a generation of former child soldiers, abused daughters and sons, and war-torn kids who now get to dream again. They get to experience renewed joy. And they can imagine a life of great expectations — just like any other child.

Exile International

Bethany’s story

Taking a leap of faith for the good of others — with John McCollum
 

“Early on, I acknowledged ‘I don't know what I’m doing’ and that was one of those things that was really helpful. I didn’t get the big picture of what this would become, so I was able to learn piece by piece. 

I didn’t have any illusion that I had anything I could bring to the table that would help these people other than money — and I didn’t have much of that." 

JOHN McCOLLUM, Executive Director, Asia’s Hope

 

John will jokingly refer to his decision to close down his design agency to take on the leadership role for a nonprofit organization that helps orphaned kids in Asia as taking the down escalator in terms of wealth, influence and success in business. Admittedly, it’s not a conscious decision that many of us would choose to make — John included. But what John discovered, first through adoption, and then by recognizing those who would never have that chance, led him on a journey half-way around the world to bring hope to some of the world’s most vulnerable children at risk of sexual and economic exploitation. 

John’s story is about listening, feeling, and acknowledging that call on his life — and then having the faith to step out and actually do something about it.   

www.asiashope.org