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Guitarists Shine at Special Performance

Southwest Key Programs / Immigrant Stories  / Guitarists Shine at Special Performance
If they ever tell you that they cannot do something, you can simply say to them, “You played the guitar in front of 100 of your peers and staff members. You can do anything!”

Free Arts, located in Phoenix, Arizona, uses the healing powers of the arts to help abused and homeless children build resilience and learn to trust and heal. Southwest Key Programs partnered with Free Arts to help more children overcome their past and dream about a better future. Free Arts brings their hands-on art programming into immigrant children shelters. Through art, children are able to learn to use creative outlets as coping methods and learn empowering new skills.

CarlosOver the summer in 2019, Carlos Urtey, a musician and actor, came to Casa Lighthouse to teach youth how to play the guitar.

At the end of six weeks of instruction, shelter staff coordinated a recital to showcase all of the guitarists’ newfound skills. From assigning a master of ceremonies to solo performances and an opening song, all staff came together to make this a special event.

Free Arts Program Director, Jessica Flowers came to the recital. Throughout the performance, she was impressed with the relationship between youth and staff. “I was struck, during my visit, by the support and encouragement that you and your team offered to the boys who performed. Small things like including your staff members [participating] in the performance in order to make the children feel safer and ensuring that they had special attire to wear, made an incredible impact on their self-efficacy!”

At the end of the recital, Jessica left with a better understanding of the mission of Southwest Key.

“It was clear from watching all of the staff interact with the children, how very much everyone enjoys their jobs and are there with incredibly good intentions. What a gift you all are to these children!”

This post is part of a series on art therapy in shelters, read further: The Role Art Therapy Plays in Shelters and Camaraderie and Creativity through Cooking.