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Powerful art exhibition aims to raise awareness of alarming prevalence of child abuse


“An insightful and inspiring story of courage shown by these boys and girls as they emerged from their horrific ordeal” – John Thoresen, CEO of BSCC

PETERSBURG — Victims of child abuse are undergoing art therapy to help them overcome heartbreaking experiences. Eighty-four pieces of their original art will be exhibited at the Petersburg Area Art League [PAAL] in the old town.

“Overcame: Art of The Abused Child” is presented by the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center [BSCC] – one of the nation’s leading treatment, education, research and resource centers for the prevention of child abuse. The Petersburg Experience marks the second stop of the traveling exhibition which is considered the first of its kind in the country.

In July, the exhibition premiered at Vanderbilt Hall inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal. This is a deeply personal and immersive experience that is part of BSCC’s fightchildabuse.org initiative.

Bill Nicholson, PAAL’s newly elected president, attended the powerful expo in New York, and he felt it was imperative that PAAL be the next venue for it.

“It is filled with so many different emotions – from rage that far too many children in this country and around the world have experienced at the hands of their abusers, to relief that they are overcoming their abuse and able to recover. ‘express in a way that resonates with those who come to experience the exhibition,’ said BSCC Board Member Nicholson.

Even though Nicholson had been involved with the BSCC for over 13 years, he was struck by the images created by the victims.

“To this day, I still wonder why this happens? I will never forget the day Barbara Sinatra took me by the arm and showed me around her namesake center. She hooked me and she knew it. “, explained Nicholson. “I couldn’t say no. I don’t know who could?

Whether he was elected president of PAAL or not, Nicholson made a commitment to himself to bring the exhibit “Overcame: Art of The Abused Child” to Petersburg.

“This powerful exposure needs to be shared here and frankly around the world. It gave me more motivation and purpose,” Nicholson said. “It’s an emotional and powerful exhibit, but it’s a sad reality.”

“This is a powerful and poignant showcase of innocence lost and, at the same time, an insightful and inspiring story of courage shown by these boys and girls as they emerged from their horrific ordeals. “said John Thoresen, CEO of BSCC. “We are honored that the Petersburg Area Art League wanted to partner with us to illuminate these stories for their general audience.”

Beverly Johnson: model, author, businesswoman, actress, singer

BSCC board member Beverly Johnson, the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine as well as the French edition of Elle, will be a special guest at the opening of the members-only exhibit of PAAL on Thursday, November 10. She will also be present at the PAAL inauguration of her renovated gallery on Friday of the Arts! November 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“I knew Beverly would join me if I asked her. She said yes right away, despite her busy schedule. I knew she would be the right person to help me get the word out here,” Nicholson said.

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Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center

Through PAAL, Bill merges his two great passions, the arts and the welfare of children, giving a voice to children who are not heard.

“The BSCC Board of Trustees is the most dedicated group of humans I have ever worked with. Ms. Johnson taught self-esteem lessons to graduates of our program,” Nicholson said. “BSCC provides services free of charge and has created animated videos to help teach children how to protect themselves and identify predators. One of my goals is to get the videos out to all local schools.”

The BSCC was founded in 1986 by the late Barbara and Frank Sinatra. It is dedicated to ensuring the right of every child to a normal, healthy and safe childhood. Since its inception, approximately 25,000 children have received outpatient mental health and counseling services at the Centre. The Center offers individual, group and family therapies and special programs that address issues associated with children suffering from the effects of abuse and neglect.

An estimated 700 children are counseled each year on an outpatient basis, and no child is ever turned away due to a family’s inability to pay. An animated video series, funded by the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation, has reached more than 100 million children worldwide and generated more than 55 million individual and group views on YouTube in the United States and the United States. foreign.

The BSCC is located on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where Nicholson resides when not staying in his historic, art-filled High Street townhouse in Petersburg. Visit BarbaraSinatraChildrensCenter.org for more information on BSCC.

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Overcome: The Art of the Abused Child

The exhibition which shows how brave survivors overcame traumatic experiences through artistic expression aims to raise awareness of the alarming prevalence of child abuse. According to the BSCC, up to one in five girls and one in 20 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, and 90% of all incidents are committed by someone in a relationship of trust with the child.

“Overcame: Art of The Abused Child” was named after Maleyna Gregorio’s play. Abused by her music teacher, she never thought she could overcome the hurdle of being a victim of sexual abuse. Gregorio received extensive counseling at the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. .

Filled with artwork dating back to 1987, the pieces range from the written word and clear illustrations of a memory to more metaphorical and abstract displays of emotion. The 1,500 square foot exhibit includes a private and safe space for reflection and discussion.

BSCC Director of Clinical Programs and Outreach, Araceli Martinez, a licensed therapist, will be available at the exhibit Nov. 11 at PAAL to talk about the effectiveness of art therapy. She runs all art camps for BSCC patients.

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aunts and uncles club

Members of the Aunts & Uncles Club are dedicated to the interests of the children of the non-profit BSCC. The Club enriches the lives of young victims through care provided through financial support. In appreciation of members’ annual $1,000 donation, children send special keepsakes to aunts and uncles for the duration of their treatment.

One hundred percent of contributions go directly to children’s programs and therapy at no administrative cost. Members enable children to receive necessary counseling and services such as a sexual assault examination, forensic interviews and psychiatric assessments, including on child victims of human trafficking.

Area detectives, district attorney’s office child abuse prosecutors, child protective services, victim advocates, therapists and the center’s nurse examiner attend monthly meetings at the center for children to review cases as a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to prosecuting perpetrators and treating victims of child abuse cases.

Nicholson, a member of the Aunts & Uncles club, feels blessed to be able to sponsor this poignant exhibit. He invites the community to see him for free in his Old Towne neighborhood from this Friday until November 30 at 7 E. Old St. 7 p.m.

For more information, visit paalarts.org and follow Petersburg Area Art League on Facebook.

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