LOS ANGELES (August 8, 2019) – “Speak Life,” “Share Life,” and “Take Flight,” are some of the positive messages on a new colorful mural painted by South Los Angeles at-risk middle school and high school students and community artist Moses Ball.
The 8-week Blue Shield Promise Community Art Therapy program was held in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, Challengers Clubhouse and Wellnest (formerly Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic). The project helps local youth deal with everyday trauma they face by using their creativity to help design a mural based on their hopes and aspirations.
Each week, social workers and behavioral health specialists from Blue Shield Promise and Wellnest joined accomplished artist Ball who encouraged youth aged 11 to 17 to lend their creativity as they participated in the program. Art was used as a tool to help the program participants share their feelings and talk about difficult issues in a safe, nurturing space. As part of the program, a “Promise” theme mural was painted on the 20-foot by 60-foot wall outside the playground of the Boys and Girls Challengers Clubhouse.
The design is a brightly colored blue wall representing the faces of the children and showcasing their dreams about future occupations. For example, a young girl inspired by aviator Bessie Coleman is dressed like a pilot with an image of a plane taking flight behind her. Another shows a young girl rapper inspired by Nipsey Hussle’s music as well as his community work.
“The vision that inspired the mural is to repair the hurt from the challenges the youth face and in turn foster the dreams that still live inside them,” Ball said.
“It gives me great satisfaction to mentor youth both artistically and in life,” said Ball. “I hope to inspire the next generation to become Los Angeles muralists and beautify the community. With the support of Blue Shield Promise that provided resources and staff, I was able to focus on the artistic instruction and guidance of kids who played a key role in creating the mural.
“It’s exciting to think that every time I come to the center, the mural gives me a sense of pride knowing that I helped paint it,” said Brailyn (12 years old), Boys & Girls Clubs Challenger Clubhouse member.
The mural is part of the Community Art Therapy Program, which includes guidance from trained behavioral health professionals. The goal is to help at-risk youth express their emotions in an invisible form, and assist them in building relationships with others. This program enables kids who are undergoing physical, emotional or mental crisis to increase their ability to explore, discover and interpret reality in a safe space.
“Blue Shield Promise is committed to investing in the communities where our members live to ensure they have every opportunity to have healthy and vibrant lives,” said Dr. Greg Buchert, President and CEO of Blue Shield Promise. “We are thrilled to have the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles and Wellnest joining our effort to create community programming like the youth art therapy that focuses on addressing the health needs of youth using art and engagement.”
“This was a great program for our youth because it provided them with an opportunity that they will be able to experience for years to come with the creating of this colorful new mural at the Challengers Club,” said Calvin Lyons, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles. “We’re delighted to work with Blue Shield Promise and Wellnest who understand the needs of healthy communities and offer their time and resources to boost children’s self-esteem and confidence through art therapy.”
“Commenting on the power of art, Charlene Dimas-Peinado, President and CEO of Wellnest added, “We know that art can be used to engage, educate, express powerful emotions, and develop creative thinking and problem solving that can contribute to their future success. We are honored to be a partner on this program to give these young people those tools.”
About Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan
Blue Shield of California is a nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with 6,800 employees, more than $20 billion in annual revenue and 4.3 million members. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health care service plans in California.
Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan is a managed care organization, wholly owned by Blue Shield of California, offering Medi-Cal, Cal MediConnect, Medicare Advantage HMO, and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans. It is led by healthcare professionals with a “members-first” philosophy and committed to building a quality network of providers and partnering with community organizations for its nearly 500,000 members. For more information about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, please visit www.blueshieldca.com/promise.
For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit www.news.blueshieldca.com.
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About Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles
The mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Committed to sustainable impact, BGCMLA consist of five sites and is the result of a partnership unifying Los Angeles’ Boys and Girls Clubs in the region’s most vulnerable neighborhoods since 1960 including Challengers, Watts/Willowbrook, Bell Gardens, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens. BGCMLA offers nationally-recognized programs in three core areas to ensure the achievement and empowerment of youth and their families: Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship and Healthy Lifestyles.
For more information, please visit our website at www.bgcmla.org.
About Wellnest (formerly Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic)
Wellnest (formerly Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic) is a nationally acclaimed provider of holistic, research-informed, innovative mental health services for children and young adults in Los Angeles. It has assisted high-need families in historically underserved communities for 94 years through its mission to provide a holistic approach to emotional well-being, offering hope, healing and opportunity to the children, young adults, families, and communities we serve. Wellnest’s commitment remains steadfast as we enter our second century of service.
With an operating budget of $23 million, its highly-trained staff provides clients with a comprehensive array of services, including nationally recognized, trauma-informed, evidence-based practices. Wellnest’s programs are provided at four community-based centers, 34 school-based sites (7 charter), four onsite offices, co-location at a Federally Qualified Health Center, and directly to clients through field-based programming. Wellnest supports over 4,000 children, youth, and families annually as they reach their goals in school, build healthy relationships, and enjoy newfound emotional well-being.