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The Healing Power of Poetry

June 17, 2017. By
Sydney fundraiser poetry

“When I looked at your website I immediately was like ‘this is the place that I want to go to’…”

Sydney is an extraordinary teenager whose passion for art and knowledge of its ability to act as a healing modality is inspiring. Her own healing journey through art is a testimony of the medium’s capacity to help kids transform their pain.

At the age of eleven, when she was diagnosed with clinical depression, Sydney didn’t understand why other kids felt happy all the time and she didn’t. Every day was a struggle with the pressure she felt to imitate the happiness her peers exuded.

Sydney’s experiences led her to seek out a future in art therapy and connect with organizations and resources like ours. “When I looked at your website, I was like ‘this is the place that I want to go to,’ and after I visited for the first time, I immediately felt welcomed by everyone” Sydney said. 

In high school, Sydney transitioned to Big Picture, a self-driven project-based school, where she can independently lead her learning and focus on things like poetry. Sydney said, “My first thought about poetry was that it was dumb, but I began to love writing because it made me feel like I could say what I wanted to say without opening my mouth.” 

“I realized I wasn’t alone and that my work could inspire others”

One of the first pieces of writing that Sydney shared with her classmates was about how she had not self-harmed in 15 days. After reading her work, another student confided that she too was struggling with self-harm, leading Sydney to realize “I wasn’t alone, and my work could inspire others.” 

The realization of how her work could touch and communicate with others is one of the main factors in what inspired a profound project titled Saltwater. Saltwater is Sydney’s senior project, and will be a curated collection of poetry that reflects on mental health and her personal journey towards healing. “When I began my project, I originally focused on helping kids with mental illness. When I heard about Art with Heart, I realized there is a greater need for helping all kinds of kids with hardships,” said Sydney.

Sydney’s book, Saltwater, will soon be published on Create Space and printed on demand. We are honored that Sydney will be donating half the proceeds of the sale of her book of poetry to benefit Art with Heart, while the other half will help support her post high school journey.