Posts tagged restore
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

Bringing light into the darkness — with Amber Runyon

“I believe that if we can teach little girls to dream that they'll be the force that changes the world.

But more than that; I believe that if we can teach broken women to dream like little girls again, it will be a force the world is yet to see.” 

AMBER RUNYON, Founder, Legacy, and Eleventh Candle Co. 

Changing the world can be daunting and overwhelming. So how do you do it? How do you seek justice without being crushed by the injustices around you?

According to Amber — one small act at a time. Oh, and start a candle business while you’re at it.

This former hospice nurse will tell you that running a nonprofit organization that owns a for-profit business isn’t easy. She’ll say she never set out to be an entrepreneur. She’ll admit to not even being a fan of scented candles — the kind her company, the Eleventh Candle. Co., makes. But in the next breath she'll tell you she couldn’t sit on the sideline and do nothing as she saw women in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio — and young girls in Ethiopia — being trafficked; bought and sold like a commodity.  It’s exactly how to bring light into darkness — and the powerful metaphor isn’t lost on her either. 

Amber’s story is deeply personal while also being selfless. She’s employing women who desperately want to dream again and believe in life’s possibilities. She’s also giving hope and refuge to little girls a continent away. And she’s doing it with some wax, a wick, and a little redemptive storytelling.

Amber epitomizes what it means to change the world with small steps. In time, they add up to an impact that far exceeds expectations.    

Eleventh Candle Company

Legacy (mission video)