TRURO, N.S. – An art program led by a trauma survivor has completely changed the life of one Truro woman.
Noelle (name withheld by request) felt she was living a life without hope before she attended ‘Heal Your Heart Through Art.’
“I was in an extremely bad place mentally,” she said. “I was socially isolated, with no support system. I came to this one night and I was hooked. This became the one thing I’d look forward to during the week. It was the only time I didn’t feel anxious or stressed. I felt I was in a safe environment.
“I hadn’t painted before and I was surprised at what came out.”
She even made friends through the program.
Jackie Waugh, who led the program, is thrilled with the response from participants and with the works they’ve created.
“I look forward to see what people come up with each time,” she said. “I’m glad I can do something to help.
“When I started this I thought I was doing it for everybody else; it turns out it was also for me. It’s helped me so much to help them.”
It was when Waugh showed her art at the Day of Remembrance ceremony last year that Cinda Willigar, women’s support counsellor at Third Place Transition House, asked her about doing an art program.
“I said yes right away,” said Waugh. “She asked me if I wanted to think about it and I said no. Art helped me so much I wanted to share it, and the response at that event was so overwhelmingly positive it gave me the incentive to do it.”
She and Willigar did a presentation for Colchester County council and were able to obtain a grant to cover the costs of running the program, which draws between nine and 12 women each week.
They spend some time painting in silence, but it’s a comfortable silence, and at other times they chat or share some of their stories, knowing they will be supported.
“This group just blended from the start,” said Willigar. “What they do is like journaling on canvas. You see pictures change like the person is changing. It’s a healing place.”
They hope to continue to run the program in 2018. For more information call Third Place Transition House at 902-893-4844.