Art Therapy at the Capitol – February 2014

State Senator Lois Wolk and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada honored the Aldea Children & Family Services art therapy program earlier this month with a ceremony and reception at the State Capitol. Children who created the artwork featured in Aldea’s 2014 Children’s Art Therapy Calendar were introduced on the Senate and Assembly floors and were hosted for a calendar-signing reception with their families, the legislative hosts and other representatives.

Aldea, a local nonprofit provider of mental health and child welfare services, publishes its annual Children’s Art Therapy Calendar—now in its 15th year—to increase awareness of children’s mental health issues and raise funds for services. Through the agency’s art therapy program, children from Solano and Napa counties use drawing, painting and sculpture to work through conflict and trauma with the guidance of trained Aldea therapists. “Ten percent of kids have a serious mental disorder,” explains Mark Bontrager, Aldea Executive Director. “Art therapy helps them to better express their emotions and also improves their self-image. Our calendar shows people how art can be vital to the healing process.”