The Charlotte, NC Regional Chapter of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals took on a gratifying task this fall for its annual community service project. About a dozen chapter members made it their mission to create an expressive arts therapy room out of an 1800-square-foot storage space at a children's treatment facility. This was the third year in a row that Charlotte IAHSP chose Thompson Child & Family Focus of Matthews, NC as the beneficiary of its service project.
Charlotte IAHSP members spent about $500 on supplies. They painted and worked 14 days converting the storage room into four separate areas for art, drama, drumming, and relaxation. Thompson expressive arts instructor Blair Scott explained that expressive arts therapy is a holistic therapeutic approach that combines art, movement, dance, drama, writing, relaxation, play, and music to foster growth, development, and healing.
"The home stagers put so much thought, creativity and skill into each element of the space," Scott said.
Drawing boards the home stagers hung on the walls of the new room portion off an art area that give the children opportunity to express themselves, said Scott. Rods and curtains were installed by the group to create a drama area where the children can perform skits, dances, songs, and poetry readings. The Charlotte stagers painted a floor-to-ceiling jungle mural to create a drumming area. "Therapeutic drumming is used to promote relaxation, well-being, self-worth, and it reduces tension," Scott explained.
A relaxation area where the children practice relaxation techniques is highlighted by another hand painted mural with a tranquil beach scene.
When the children enter the new room, they respect the area as a space for healing. They remove their shoes and spend a quiet moment lounging on pillows under a shear canopy in the center of the room to prepare for expressive arts therapy. At the close of the session, the children go back to that center space, reflect on their experience, and prepare for the remainder of their day.
Before & After - New expressive arts therapy room at Thompson Child & Family Focus
"Thompson Child & Family Focus is very pleased with the transformation of the space. The Accredited Staging Professionals have created a warm and friendly space for our children. The murals and new paint colors create a sense of safety and welcome that will aid our children in their journey of healing," said Thompson Volunteer Coordinator Rachel Eldridge.
The Thompson Saint Peter's Lane campus in Matthews provides a array of services for children and families including intense clinical residential and day treatment programs that combine strong therapeutic intervention with classroom academics; off-site, specialized treatment and support for families experiencing attachment disorder issues; and foster/adoption placement. More information can be found at www.thompsoncff.org.
Charlotte IAHSP Chapter completed their project while participating in the annual IAHSP Worldwide Staging Service Week - started by IAHSP founder Barb Schwarz, the creator of the home staging industry. The motto for the IAHSP WWSSW annual event is "Think Globally, Act Locally."