“Smile Now, Cry Later”
Henry David Thoreau eloquently wrote, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” Art is a powerfully versatile medium that yields extraordinary therapeutic benefits. Home on the Range constantly strives to influence the lives of children in a positive manner.
This philosophy was enriched during a recent visit from the tattoo legend, Freddy Negrete. Hailing from California, Freddy visited Home on the Range to conduct an art therapy class. The results far exceeded expectations. Freddy gave a strong heartfelt testimonial enabling the children to relate and form comparisons to their lives. A compelling connection was formed through the ability to relate to life struggles including abusive relationships, addiction to drugs, and time in placement. The ability to relate formed a true therapeutic relationship.
Freddy illuminated the desire and ability to transform his life to the children. The power was evident that a former child in placement was able to rise and soar to a life of happiness and love. The life lessons communicated were invaluable to all in attendance.
Freddy wisely spoke to avoiding social segregation by stating, “we’re a community, we gotta stick together.” The weight of this single statement can still be felt today. The imagery of Freddy’s highs and lows in struggling to regain his life relays hope. Hope can be a miraculous first step or a precious lifeline.
The outpouring of emotional communication from Freddy was an unbelievably unique opportunity for the children at Home on the Range. The children were also afforded the occasion to attend a therapeutic art class conducted by Freddy. The basis of the session was demonstrating sketches of popular tattoo designs. The outcome however, was far more momentous. Individual instruction was given along with praise throughout the process.
Freddy was able to impart knowledge and bolster self esteem through his dedication to his art form. Art was the vehicle that facilitated the smoothest of rides towards acceptance and camaraderie. The impact Freddy demonstrated in the lives of the children was strikingly significant and genuine.
Home on the Range wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to Freddy Negrete for the generous donation of his time. There are no words to express our gratitude in sharing your talent, art, and life experiences with our children. This life changing experience would not have been possible without the benevolent grant from the North Dakota Community Foundation, which afforded travel expenses and art supplies. Home on the Range is confident in the success of Freddy Negrete’s visit and retains optimism for the possibilities of future endeavors together.
Submitted by Jennifer Denise Tilly