How Creativity Heals and Helps

March 21, 2016
How Creativity Heals and Helps

This month’s spotlight program, the Holy Cross woodshop, is also the subject of our current Cultivating Hope campaign. The woodshop serves as a creative outlet where young people in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood and their adult mentors can express themselves through crafting artistic pieces. Like all of the Claretian Initiative’s arts programs, the woodshop’s creativity impacts the community in many positive ways.

Artistic activities have benefits for almost everyone but are especially valuable for at-risk youth, according to research from the National Endowment for the Arts. One study found that when at-risk children and teens have significant involvement in creative arts they get better grades, take on more challenging coursework, and are more likely to earn a college degree. They are also more engaged in their communities—more likely to volunteer, to be involved in other extracurricular activities, and to vote in elections.

Practicing a craft like woodworking can also ease stress and increase happiness, as explained in a recent article from CNN. The process of creating something is calming and satisfying, making it helpful to those with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain—all of which can be very real side effects of living with poverty and community violence. In the long run, practicing a craft can also keep a person mentally sharp and protect against the effects of aging. So helping kids learn a craft like woodworking at a young age can actually improve their well-being for years to come.

Support young artists today!

In order to provide these benefits to the at-risk members of the Back of the Yards community, the Holy Cross woodshop needs a dust extractor system to keep the workshop clean, new scroll saws, and raw materials like wood and paint. Help us raise $1,500 to provide these supplies so the woodshop can keep bringing art and creativity to Holy Cross! Read more or make a donation today!

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