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Turning Possibilities Into Realities

The Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic
Turning Possibilities Into Realities

After a successful launch, The Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic seeks to further its outreach commitment with your help.

How does a 13-year-old girl cope with pregnancy and becoming a single parent? What is the first step in rebuilding lives after a natural disaster? How can children who witness the shooting of a friend ever recover from their trauma?

Thanks to your generosity, The Campaign for LMU is helping people to respond after crises such as these through the Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic.

Building a Community
“We are not building a building, we are building a community of therapists” is how Helen B. Landgarten described the clinic named in her honor at its inauguration last year. Landgarten is a pioneer art therapist and founder of the Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy at LMU. The mission of the clinic is to serve our communities by offering clinical art therapy interventions to underserved and underprivileged children and families who have experienced trauma or are facing very serious obstacles in life.

In our initial project, Landgarten and other volunteer therapists have become frontline supporters to a group of adolescent single mothers. Because of donors like you, ten pregnant and new teenage mothers visit the clinic weekly to learn how to become better communicators, manage their anger and enhance their parenting skills. So far, 20 young women have benefited from the program, which includes transportation to and from Thomas Riley High School in South Central Los Angeles.

All participants are at a great risk of dropping out of high school. According to Judy Flesh, volunteer therapist, the girls are confronting an emotional and challenging growing process, and some give birth while in the program.

“It is rewarding to know how our services have empowered them,” explained Flesh, “Being at LMU has made all of the adolescents want to go to college and imagine new possibilities.”

“The program resonates with LMU’s mission, because it is service-oriented and serves the disenfranchised members of the communities we live in,” explained Debra Linesch, chair and professor of the Department of Marital and Family Therapy. “It is getting really well-known, and we are acting on opportunities to expand our outreach.”

The clinic has begun expanding its services to include crisis intervention. Therapists, LMU graduate students and licensed art therapy alumni have responded by providing art therapy services in emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina, the San Diego brushfires and the recent shooting at a middle school in Oxnard, Calif.

Reaching Out
The next step, Linesch says, is to develop a cohort of trained crisis responders, made up of licensed alumni, who will serve as crisis intervention experts during emergencies. “We are inculcating the idea of service and creating the opportunities for our alumni to become engaged by giving back,” Linesch said.

Already you have touched the lives of many for the better. LMU is grateful, because your support launched the program, but there is no lack of need. Together we can create permanent hired positions for our volunteer therapists, institute a program director and, more importantly, endow the clinic in order to sustain its work in perpetuity.

Thank you for giving a gift that turns a possibility into a reality. To learn more about Right Place. Right Time. The Campaign for LMU, click here.