Art Contest Helps Heal the Wounds of Childhood Trauma

Art Contest Helps Heal the Wounds of Childhood Trauma

Every year the members of Crittenton’s Felicia Auxiliary have dedicated their summers in coordinating and reviewing art projects that clients in Crittenton’s Residential Treatment Services Program produce.

The “I Have a Dream for My Future Contest” is an artistic competition that is designed to help the young teenage girls placed at Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) work through their various behavioral or mental health issues. This is accomplished by providing a platform of creative expression that can help our clients build their self-esteem; help them through their therapy process; or help them discover a talent they might have never known existed.

Alex Genah is the Recreation Program Manager for Crittenton’s Residential Treatment Services Program and is one of the people that assists Crittenton’s Felicia Auxiliary coordinate this yearly event.

“It’s great to see how passionate our clients can be about something so positive and about a project that helps with building resiliency,” Genah said.

Crittenton’s dedicated volunteer auxiliary is also deeply involved with the daily minutia associated with this artistic event. During the months of July and early August those volunteers involved with the “I Have a Dream for My Future Contest” make sure that every young lady that wishes to submit their art projects are given an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents.

“It’s an opportunity for our clients to express the dreams and desires of their futures whether it be a career, family, or personal goal. This is done through drawing and painting, poetry, or in a essay. This contest has been going on for many years and the girls always get excited when they hear about not just the opportunity to express their voices, but to also get the opportunity to have their art projects be selected for a prize,” Genah said.

One of our volunteers and longtime supporters, Barbara Gregory, who just happens to be the President of Crittenton’s Felicia Auxiliary knows all too well the amount of time, effort, and dedication our girls put into these very personal projects of self expression.

Ms. Gregory is one of the judges that make time for this event every year. Despite her own personal and professional obligations in the local community she insists on going through every art project submitted. She meticulously reviews, provides feedback, and evaluates each art contest submission as she knows that this simple act of volunteerism can help our girls get through, an oftentimes, very rough patch in their lives.

“I love to see the look of excitement on the girls’ faces when they turn them in and explain to me why their entry should win, even though I tell them I’m not one of the judges,” Genah said.

There were three art contest winners this year placing first, second and third place respectively. Each of the girls selected by the Crittenton Felicia Auxiliary “I Have a Dream for My Future” contest judges were told of their winning art project and received recognition and a cash prize for their efforts.


Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.

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