As we look back on our November 30 Annual Benefit at The Triple Door in downtown Seattle, the one word that won't go away is GRATITUDE. Thanks to our amazing friends and supporters, the event was a phenomenal success, exceeding our expectations and even our hopes.
The festivities began with a fabulous concert by our musical guest, Joseph, who performed their soul-stirring songs for a standing-room-only audience, and set the tone for all sorts of beauty to follow.
Curtis Romjue, President and Co-Founder of First Aid Arts, briefly reviewed our history, celebrating how far we've come in six short years, from our founding in 2009, to our first pilot Healing Arts Toolkit training in the Philippines in 2012, to our first Level II Training in 2015. To date, we've trained 356 staff from 134 organizations, who've gone on to reach 5000 trauma survivors with the healing power of the arts. That's good news!
Matt Smith, our Executive Vice President, presented an informative slide show explaining how trauma affects the brain and why the arts promote powerful and dramatic healing. Scientific research supports what personal experience has taught us -- creativity is good for the body as well as the soul.
Ruth Yeo Peterman, our Vice President of Program Development and Training, walked us through the past year in review, with photographs and stories that highlighted beautiful breakthroughs in the lives of both trauma survivors and those who serve them. Self-care for providers is one of the beauties of training in our toolkit.
Grace Romjue, Board Member and Co-Founder, turned our eyes forward with a poignant slide-show of photos taken by Magnus Wennman depicting where refugee children sleep. First Aid Arts is excited to launch our recently developed Healing Arts Toolkit for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in 2016. Which brings us to "Benefit" part of the evening.
Our friend, Tom Crane, emceed the "5 minutes to reach 5000" party, during which attendees held up cards displaying either a green heart or I Love First Aid Arts, anonymously pledging the amount they'd committed to give. It was a fun celebration, involving noise makers and lots of laughter, and when it was all over? Our goal of raising $60,000.00 to reach 5000 survivors in 2016 was not only met but exceeded by $26,000.00!
That's right. Our wonderful, generous friends gave $86,000.00 in one night, and our hearts are exploding with gratitude.
We also owe a debt of thanks to the more than 20 volunteers who made the evening possible, Gabriel Boone Photography for donating their photo booth, our graphic designer, Kirsten Musgrave, the band Joseph, the Triple Door, and Amber Pauline Walker, a beautiful and articulate survivor of human trafficking, whose story inspires us and whose voice brings a much needed perspective to all we do. We hope you all know your efforts made a good thing beyond great.
And now, as 2015 winds down, we look forward with hope. Our goals for 2016 include:
1.) Twelve Healing Arts Toolkit Trainings,
2.) Two Level II Trainings (training trainers!), and
3.) Pilot training with our Refugee Toolkit.
We're off to a great start with the $86,000.00 raised during the Benefit, but we still need your help to achieve our goal of reaching 5000 trauma survivors with the healing power of the arts in 2016.
Would you consider a year-end gift to First Aid Arts to help us bring beauty into aching places? You can donate online here.
Thank you, friends, with all our hearts. If we each do our part to love creatively, together we can make the world more beautiful, one survivor at a time.