Voces Arts and Healing
Spring 2024 Fundraiser and Newsletter

Voces Arts and Healing is a volunteer group of expressive arts therapists, artists, educators and psychologists from North America and South America dedicated to addressing the growing humanitarian crisis with immigrant children and their families. We believe that the arts and expressive arts therapies offer powerful tools for giving voice to and addressing the short and long-term effects of trauma, especially in children.

We are currently raising money for el Dia del Niño, the Day of the Child on April 30. It is a day of fun, with games, clowns, treats, little gifts and more. Children of families who are seeking Asylum in the US and living in shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, need to experience the sweetness of childhood celebrations. Because of our fiscal partners, Seguimos Adalante a 501c3, your gifts are completely tax deductible!! From all of us at Voces Arts and Healing Thank you!!

  DONATE HERE

Update About Our Trip to Ciudad Juarez in January 2024 

In January 2024 ten Voces members traveled to Ciudad Juarez to work with asylum seekers and their families as well as shelter staff, at several of the shelters. We also restored a playground at one of the shelters in Ciudad Juarez and held a concert in the evening featuring Stan Strickland, Mitchell Kossak and Greta Bro. The restored playground and concert were an expression of our support for asylum seekers and also offered in appreciation for the volunteers and officials who work to bring quality of life to them. Children from the shelter enthusiastically joined us on percussion for our opening songs. The Concert was organized by Lucero de Alva who lives in Juarez and works long days supporting asylum seekers, and Enrique Valenzuela who is the inspired director of the state organization COESPO.
We also met with administration and faculty of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and local artist collectives to discuss ongoing collaborations. (See Below)

Establishing a Partnership with El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El COLEF) and with
Local Artists

Voces members met with faculty and staff at COLEF or El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El Colef) in January 2024. COLEF is a university with seven campuses along the Mexico United States border.  Established as the Center for Border Studies of Northern Mexico (CEFNOMEX) in 1982, its mission is to generate scientific knowledge about the regional phenomena of the border between Mexico and the United States with a comprehensive and multidisciplinary perspective.

They seek to train high-level scientific and professional cadres or teams through postgraduate and ongoing training programs and then link their research with the social and government sphere to disseminate knowledge and promote development initiatives for the region and the country.

Through our talks with the faculty at COLEF, Voces hopes to establish a certificate program in Trauma Studies and Expressive Arts Therapies beginning in 2025. Ongoing collaborative discussions will continue throughout 2024 culminating in an international conference in early 2025.

On an earlier trip to Ciudad Juarez, Voces member, Dr. Kelvin Ramirez made connections with artists from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez who have joined together in a network that spans the border. They are dedicated to painting the streets of both cities with inspiring and positive art in the hopes of refocusing the minds of many who see this area as a war zone.

The network known as Puro Borde, consists of more than two dozen artists from the El Paso-Juarez area who help each other exhibit their murals, turning their cities into more colorful communities. They also place their work in local galleries.

Self-described “border artist” Arón Venegas, is a member of Puro Borde in El Paso who believes that art communicates with power. Venegas, a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, has worked on a variety of murals with Puro Borde and has exhibited his work in both Mexico and the U.S. We are excited to be partnering with these visionaries.

Donate

Help Us Provide Treats and Games to Celebrate the Day of the Child
with Children Living in Shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Please consider donating money for El Dia del Niño (The Day of the Child) celebrated on April 30 in Mexico! The Day is a celebration of childhood and a little like Halloween in the US, with games, treats, gifts and more. Children of families who are seeking Asylum in the US and living in shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, need to experience the sweetness of childhood celebrations.

We are grateful for the inspired volunteer work of Lucero De Alva who lives in Ciudad Juarez and works tirelessly withe the shelters and to are fiscal partners the non-profit, grass roots organization Seguimos Adalante founded in response to the growing refugee crisis at the US/Mexico border.

We are also partnering with COESPO, the State Population Council of the State of Chihuahua, a government agency in Ciudad Juárez which promotes and coordinates the execution and specific actions in the matter of population, for the right to health protection, education, work, housing, the equality of men and women and the protection and economic and social well-being of family rights.

Help Purchase musical instruments, art supplies and food for a shelter in Ciudad Juarez

Along with raising money for special occasions like El Dia del Niño (The Day of the Child) we also use donations for instruments and art supplies, food and educational materials for asylum seekers and their families currently living in shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

You can specify that your donation help purchase art supplies and musical instruments for ongoing expressive therapy, educational and creative programs being offered in the shelters. Or you can specify food. $25 can feed a family of four for a week. Thank you for your generosity and kindness!

Voces Arts and Healing Newsletter 
February 2021

Music From The Heart
A Valentine’s Zoom Concert and Benefit 
Saturday, February 13, 7pm EST
For Asylum Seekers currently in
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Sponsored by Voces Arts and Healing

Featuring 
Singer/Saxophonist Stan Strickland
Singer/Songwriter Greta Bro
Jazz Pianist Mitchell Kossak and
Sufi Teacher, Guitarist Abraham Sussman
Film Composer, Pianist John McDowell

February, 2021
Voces Arts and Healing Newsletter

Voces Arts and Healing is a self-organized, volunteer group of expressive arts therapists, psychotherapists and educators who have all worked with complex trauma. Our mission is to offer ongoing, trauma based expressive arts therapies in an effort to support the psycho-emotional health needs of asylum seekers in the US and Mexico. Our work is currently focused in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico but we hope with the inauguration of the new US President, Vice President, Cabinet and a more progressively led Senate and House that we will be invited to work in ICE facilities in the US that house immigrants and their families.

Many of us are feeling hopeful that President Biden and Vice President Harris and their new administration will act rapidly to reunite the over 600 children here in the US who are still separated from their parents due to the last administration’s disastrous and cruel zero tolerance policy. The US needs sweeping immigration reform which we at Voces believe must include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who are contributing to the prosperity and well-being of our nation, strengthening DACA, ending destructive and inhumane Homeland Security policies, allowing immigrant parents who were separated to have a protective status in the US while they wait to be reunited with their children and much much more.

Our teams of expressive arts therapists, clinicians, artists and educators began traveling to the region in December 2019. We were invited to share our work in over 17 shelters, which roughly house 300 children and their families. Some of the shelters are in undisclosed locations, as they house highly vulnerable individuals and families.

in ICE facilities in the US that house immigrants and their families.

Many of us are feeling hopeful that President Biden and Vice President Harris and their new administration will act rapidly to reunite the over 600 children here in the US who are still separated from their parents due to the last administration’s disastrous and cruel zero tolerance policy. The US needs sweeping immigration reform which we at Voces believe must include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who are contributing to the prosperity and well-being of our nation, strengthening DACA, ending destructive and inhumane Homeland Security policies, allowing immigrant parents who were separated to have a protective status in the US while they wait to be reunited with their children and much much more.

Our teams of expressive arts therapists, clinicians, artists and educators began traveling to the region in December 2019. We were invited to share our work in over 17 shelters, which roughly house 300 children and their families. Some of the shelters are in undisclosed locations, as they house highly vulnerable individuals and families.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we are currently unable to travel to the Ciudad Juarez shelters and bring trauma based expressive arts therapies to asylum seekers and their families. We hope to return to the shelters in the summer or fall of 2021. In the meantime, we are partnering with other organizations in the region such as Seguimos Adelante, an El Paso based non-profit, grassroots organization which visits the shelters several days a week with food and other supplies. They also provide asylum seekers who are not able to get into shelters because of Covid lockdown with the holistic aid they need to support themselves and their families. Seguimos Adelante is also working closely with the United Nation’s organization IOM (International Organization for Migration). 

Other groups we are partnering with are COESPO, the State Population Council of the State of Chihuahua, a government agency in Ciudad Juárez run by Enrique Valenzuela. He and his staff have been very supportive of our work in the shelters. COESPO is responsible for promoting and coordinating health, education, work, housing, the equality of men and women, the protection of family rights and the economic and social well-being of all people in Ciudad Juarez. We are also working closely with Lucero De Alva who works for the Organización Mundial por la Paz (World Peace Organization).

We will continue to periodically update people who are following us with information about asylum seekers and their families, and challenges they are facing in Mexico and the US. For those of you who are monthly donors, we also want to keep you updated on what your donations support.

Training and Supervision

In December 2020, Voces completed a ten-module training for Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF), the equivalent of the National Association for the Protection of Children. Members of Voces created and presented ten modules of webinar trainings for those shelter support staff and therapists in the region who would like to integrate expressive arts therapies into their work with asylum seekers. Each module addresses specific interventions that can help with the added challenges asylum seekers and immigrants now face with the COVID 19 pandemic. We are also offering free weekly counseling support to service providers in the Ciudad Juarez region.

“Juarense y Poderosa” is a mural in Ciudad Juárez painted by Los Angeles artist El Mac, “The mural is based on photos I took of a young woman from there named Diana who lost her mother to kiknapping.”

Fundraising Goals
At the Current time we have three main fundraising goals:

1.Our first goal is to help our partner Seguimos Adelante provide basic food and health care to asylum seekers who are having to live outside the shelters in Ciudad Juarez because of Covid 19. A $25 donation will provide food for a family of four for a week.

2. Our second goal is to purchase art and music supplies for ongoing art, music and educational programs in the shelters.

3. Our third Goal special projects like the music video we have been making with children from the Alabanzas Al Rey shelter in Ciudad Juarez called Puedo Bailar (I Can Dance) written by Voces member, Greta Bro. Sound Engineer Sergio Erik Mendoza who lives in Juarez, has been instrumental in both mixing the recording, which includes musicians from Brazil, Mexico and the US, and videoing the children who are participating in the video. We will be previewing the video on Saturday, February 13 at 7pm EST at our Valentine’s Zoom Concert and Benefit.

When you press the donate button below you will be redirected to our fiscal sponsor The Art Therapy Institute’s fundraising page on Network For Good. Once there, you can choose which area of need you would like to support. 

From all of us at Voces, want to thank you for your generous ongoing support and continued concern for the welfare of asylum seekers and immigrants in the Ciudad Juarez region who continue to face countless challenges and uncertainties on top of the threat of COVID!!

If you would like to get involved or have ideas that could help us raise funds to support asylum seekers in Mexico or to find ways to begin to offer our work in facilities in the US please contact Greta at info@vocesartsandhealing.org

Donate

Help Provide Food and Health Care to refugees and immigrants in the Shelters

Please consider donating money for food for refugees on a monthly basis. A $25 donation provides food for a family of four for a week. Voces is partnering with Seguimos Adelante, a well known non-profit grassroots organization who provides asylum seekers with the holistic aid they need to support themselves and
their families.To learn more about them go to their website:

$25 will Provide Food and Health Care to refugees and immigrants living outside the the Shelters

Please consider donating money for food for refugees on a monthly basis. A $25 donation provides food for a week for a family of four. Voces is partnering with Seguimos Adelante, a non-profit grassroots organization who provides asylum seekers with the holistic aid they need to support themselves and their families. To learn more about them go to their website:
https://www.seguimosadelante.org/

Help Purchase musical instruments and art supplies for a shelter in Ciudad Juarez

Help purchase art supplies and musical instruments for ongoing expressive therapy, educational and creative programs being offered in shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Or donate to support special projects like the music video we created with children from the Alabanzas shelter in Ciudad Juare
z. Thank you for your generosity! 
Voces Arts and Healing.org

Voces Arts and Healing 
June, 2020 Newsletter


Thank you for your donation and for signing up for the Voces Arts and Healing Newsletter. Our goal is to periodically update people who are following and supporting Voces Arts and Healing, to bring you information about our trips, what we are currently raising money for, therapies and trainings we are offering and other regional breaking news.

Voces Arts and Healing is a self-organized, volunteer group of expressive arts therapists, psychotherapists and educators who have all worked with complex trauma. Our mission is to offer ongoing expressive arts therapies in an effort to support the psycho-emotional health needs of asylum seekers in the US and Mexico. Our work is currently focused on the shelters in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Our teams of expressive arts therapists, clinicians, artists and educators have been traveling to the region since December 2019 and have been given access to over 17 shelters, which roughly house 300 children and their families. The numbers are constantly shifting and some of the shelters are in undisclosed locations, as they house highly vulnerable individuals and families.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we are currently unable to travel to the Ciudad Juarez shelters and bring trauma based expressive arts therapies to asylum seekers and their families. We hope to return to the shelters in August. In the meantime, we are partnering with other organization in the region such as Seguimos Adelante, an El Paso based non-profit, grassroots organizations which visits the shelters several days a week and provides asylum seekers with the holistic aid they need to support themselves and their families. Seguimos Adelante is also working closely with the United Nation’s organization IOM (International Organization for Migration). 

Other groups we are partnering with are COESPO, the State Population Council of the State of Chihuahua, a government agency in Ciudad Juárez run by Enrique Valenzuela. He and his staff have been very supportive of our work in the shelters. COESPO is responsible for promoting and coordinating health, education, work, housing, the equality of men and women, the protection of family rights and the economic and social well-being of all people in Ciudad Juarez. We are also working closely with Lucero De Alva who works for the Organización Mundial por la Paz (World Peace Organization)

Training and Supervision

Voces has been spending the past three months focusing on creating webinar trainings for those shelter support staff and therapists in the regionwho would like to integrate expressive arts therapies into their work with asylum seekers. We have created eight education modules as well as specific interventions that can help with the added challenges asylum seekers and migrants now face with the Covid 19 pandemic. We are also offering weekly counseling support to service providers in the region.

In addition, Smart TVs are being purchased by the UN organization IOM (International Organization for Migration) to put in all the shelters in Juarez. We are helping Seguimos Adelante raise money to purchase additional equipment to outfit the Smart TV’s with increased conferencing abilities. This will allow asylum seekers and migrants to access video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, which will help them connect with family members, legal representation and also allow us and others to provide ongoing educational, therapeutic and recreational programs for children and adults in the shelters. 

“Juarense y Poderosa” is a mural in Ciudad Juárez painted by Los Angeles artist El Mac, “The mural is based on photos I took of a young woman from there named Diana who lost her mother to kiknapping.”

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Regional News

Voces practitioners last visited the shelters in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 7-12. Practitioners Kelvin Ramirez, Devon Govoni and Joe Mageary traveled to Ciudad Juarez with a group of 15 expressive arts therapy students from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While there, they offered intermodal expressive arts therapies to children and their families in eight shelters.

We have learned from our partners in the region, that because of Covid 19 the shelters in Ciudad Juarez are now in lock down and not admitting new refugees. The Padre Trego shelter which is staffed by Cuban doctors, serves as a 14 day quarantine shelter. Seguimos Adelante is in the process of renting a motel with 50 rooms that could help house refugees and their families who need quarantining. One of the asylum seekers explained: “When you’re [in the shelter] you’re safe. It is very dangerous for migrants to leave the shelter because we become targets for cartel extortion.” 

There is an added danger facing women and girls when they leave the shelters. Crime directed at women (many of whom are activists or asylum seekers) is common, so common that feminists in the region call it femicide. In the last three decades, hundreds of women have been brutally killed in this city, with some raped, tortured and trafficked. Many of these cases remain unsolved.

Life in the shelters means constant waiting and working to co-create a safe space while living with a population that is in constant flux. Some children at the shelters are separated from their parents, who were denied asylum in the US. It is unclear when they will be reunited. Before Covid 19 many adults living in shelters were leaving to go to work during the day. Others waited at the Paso Del Norte Bridge, which crosses the border from the US to Mexico, for their asylum cases to be called and reviewed by US Immigration.

Voces discovered that the prevailing opinion in the region is that migrants and asylum seekers are well-regarded. Many local businesses have hired them and many new, local businesses have been started by them as well. Though Covid 19 has impacted the region, Enrique Valenzuela, the Minister of Population for the state of Chihuahua told us in March, “Anybody who wants a job can generally get one.” Typically, asylum seekers are young adults with families. 

Enrique also told Voces that COESPO has processed 10,000 people in the past 6 months and 10,222 the prior month. We were surprised to learn from him that Ciudad Juarez has 20,000 vacant houses. Enrique explained that entire neighborhoods are empty: “We have the space, economically and geographically. There is space for everybody.  We should not be afraid. We should not fear migration.” This stance toward immigration is radically different from the xenophobic and racist views of the current US presidential administration.

Fundraising Goals
At the Current time we have two main fundraising goals:

1.Our first goal at this time is to help Seguimos Adelante provide basic food and health care to asylum seekers who are having to live outside the shelters in Ciudad Juarez because of Covid 19. A $25 donation will provide food for a family of four for a week.

2. Our second goal is to partner with Seguimos Adelante and help to raise money to purchase additional equipment, that will outfit the Smart TV’s that are being purchased by IOM, for increased conferencing abilities. This would allow asylum seekers and migrants to access video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, which will help them connect with family members, legal representation and also allow us and others to provide educational, therapeutic and recreational programs for children and adults. 

When you press the donate button below you will be redirected to our fiscal sponsor The Art Therapy Institute’s fundraising page on Network For Good. Once there, you can choose which area of need you would like to support. 

From all of us at Voces, we wish to say thank you, gracias, for your generous ongoing support and continued concern for the welfare of asylum seekers and immigrants in the Ciudad Juarez region!!

If you would like to get involved or have ideas that could help us raise funds to support asylum seekers in the US and Mexico, please contact Greta at info@sarahm40.sg-host.com

 Donate

$25 will Provide Food and Health Care to refugees and immigrants living outside the the Shelters

Please consider donating money for food for refugees on a monthly basis. A $25 donation provides food for a week for a family of four. Voces is partnering with Seguimos Adelante, a non-profit grassroots organization who provides asylum seekers with the holistic aid they need to support themselves and their families. To learn more about them go to their website:
https://www.seguimosadelante.org/

Help purchase additional equipment that will outfit a Smart TV in the shelters in Ciudad Juarez

This will allow asylum seekers and migrants to access video conferencing platforms like Zoom so they can connect with family members, legal representation and also helps Voces and others provide educational, therapeutic and other programs for children and their families.

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