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Atlanta's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Atlanta, Georgia | 11alive.com

'Drawing change' through art; non-profit helps kids create their future

An Atlanta non-profit is working to empower kids through art.

ATLANTA -- It is difficult for a child to learn in school, build relationships, or have fun when they are worried about when they'll eat or where they will sleep.

It is reality for a lot of students in metro Atlanta. A non-profit called DrawChange is helping change that -- visiting community centers and shelters to bring art therapy to kids who may see home as a concept, not a place.

"Some of these children just yesterday might have been in a difficult situation," founder Jennie Lobato told 11Alive, "And they landed in a new school and they're trying to figure out who they can trust."

DrawChange offers not only a creative outlet, but an opportunity to help kids envision a future beyond their current circumstances. The non-profit's volunteers meet weekly with kids, partnering with organizations such as Restoration Atlanta.

"DrawChange creates an environment for our kiddos to really separate from the reality of their current circumstance, express themselves in a creative way and truly be empowered through the art," Will Ellison, Dir. of Development with Restoration Atlanta said.

"It's so special and it's all about the kids," Ellison said. "It's empowering them and giving them everything they need to succeed."

"It's the idea that you can always draw change to yourself," Lobato said. "We all have these ideas in our head. We're asking them to not only think about it but draw and paint it."

Whether a 'happy word' they can hold onto or an idea of home that travels no matter where you rest your head, the process helps create a picture for kids that anything is possible.

"If you can imagine it and you can imagine it in that much detail, you're that much closer to have it in real life," Lobato said.

Learn more at www.drawchange.org.