It has been two days since I have arrived in Pretoria, South Africa, and I feel like I haven’t stopped for a breath. Feeling busy is totally understandable since I only have 10 weeks here, and there is so much to be done.
Why have we chosen to come to South Africa for 10 weeks?
I, Alexis, was unable to travel to Liberia to watch Playing to Live! develop during the height of Ebola. Jessi Hanson traveled to Liberia in October and has since returned back to Monrovia and has been an essential coordinator for our UNICEF grant. Through partnerships, building an incredible Playing to Live! Team, a team of expressive therapists, and long hours over Skype, phone, email, etc., we were able to create a very successful training program and activity guide based on expressive therapy techniques.
This summer I am combining my doctoral internship with a chance to build Playing to Live! While I am still working day and nights to support our incredible growth in Liberia, it was important for us to begin to look at our organization based on our global vision. Through connections and an identified need for our expressive therapies program, I have come to South Africa for our second implementation. Our fundraising and marketing director as well as fellow art therapist Kate Martin will join me in the last two weeks. Stay tuned for our exciting growth, and for updates on Liberia and South Africa. Thank you to OPSSA for the amazing work you have done to help us.
10 weeks may sound like a long time but within that time my goals are to:
But wait! In order to sustain these programs and projects, we NEED YOUR HELP! We have set up a tax deductible (thanks to our fiscal sponsor) Indie Go Go to help raise money to support our work here. It is ABSOLUTELY essential that we are able to have support in our global initiative and as we grow we need your voice and generosity. Please follow the link. Any donation counts, and you can get some pretty cool stuff in return. DONATE HERE
Phew! We have already begun discussing how Playing to Live! will be integrated in TLF’s holiday program. The theme will be based on Super Heroes, which is based off of one of my favorite Playing to Live! activity, “Create a super hero cape.” The purpose of the holiday program we are supporting is to help 80 identified homeless at risk youth (years 5-13) stay off the street during their holiday break. For many children holiday break is an exciting time of free play and exploration. For the children we are serving, this is a scary time were they are vulnerable to the dangerous streets of South Africa, while their parents are away at work.
Also stay tuned in the next few days for some exciting Liberia updates! Our UNICEF grant is in full swing!!
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We will be providing you with stories of the communities we support. The children and their caregivers featured in this blog have provided consent to share their art, pictures and stories.