"The healing power of jewelry," we once loved to joke. But, for Susan Foster, who launched the children's art therapy foundation, A Place to Be(ad) Me, the creative act of stringing together decorative beads to wear, truly is healing traumatized youngsters. Foster joined Jacqueline Shafiroff, Ava Roosevelt
and United Nations Ambassador Elizabeth Flores Flake to host an Inaugural Fundraiser for A Place to Be(ad) Me, at the Core Club, honoring NY State Assembly Member 76th District Rebecca Seawright and Stephen Baldwin.
The program brings social workers into orphanages and foster care systems to teach six-week courses where children use beads to process their traumatic pasts, then wear them as emblems of their strength to move towards a brighter future.
"I've been developing A Place To Be(ad) Me for a year and a half and I'm so proud to announce that we've launched our classes at the Administration for Children's Services, also known as the New York City
Orphanage," Foster told us. "I was the Global Ambassador for World Vision, which is a 2.6 billion dollar humanitarian aid organization, traveling in Uganda, Jordan and Lebanon. Afterwards, I just felt this pull to put this long held dream of mine, of a children's foundation, in motion."
The Board of Directors: Honduran Ambassador to the United Nations, Elizabeth Flores Flake, Founder and Chair Susan Foster, Vice President Jake Groshong, Tara White, Jacqueline ShafIroff, and Arden Michno. (Photo: Whitnee Shulman)
"It is our mission to bring our art therapy classes, taught by social workers, to the child welfare system throughout America, to the children in and out of foster care, who have never found a permanent home. We also seek to bring our curriculum to therapy charter schools throughout America, where children receive their education coupled with the fortification they need. We endeavor to help shift the life trajectory of an affected child who so desperately needs to be celebrated for who they are."
Board Member Jacqueline Shafiroff is one of the hands on social workers. "I teach them how to make jewelry," she told us. "We create pieces, talk about our feelings and emotions and just have a great time. Being creative expands their horizons, and changes their thinking to become positive and happy." She was also hands on in the planning of the event, filling the room with friends and future supporters.
Introducing honoree and friend Rebecca Seawright, Jean Shafiroff
said, "Rebecca is changing the lives of people both in NY and beyond. Elected in 2014 representing Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, since her election she has secured 10 million dollars of funding for her district's senior citizens, public schools and public parks. Rebecca is one of the great advocates of women's rights and a champion of public schools, senior citizen rights, environmental protection, public health, election and criminal justice reform and government transparency. Recently, Rebecca helped to get an Equal Rights Amendment passed in the State Constitution. Rebecca is a member of the New York State Legislature's for Gun Violence Protection and she works hard to keep guns out of the wrong hands. We need that Rebecca. Thank you very much."
For more information: www.aplacetobeadme.org.