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HALO encourages creativity during fundraising push

HALO is hoping to promote creative outlets during challenging times while raising money through its first ART-a-THON.

HALO is hoping to promote creative outlets during challenging times while raising money through its first ART-a-THON.

HALO (Helping Art Liberate Orphans) is a nonprofit organization that supports homeless and at-risk children, with branches in Jefferson City, Kansas City, New York City and Portland, Oregon. It also has a global reach.

The ART-a-THON is described as being similar to a marathon, only instead of running, participants are asked to create or perform art.

"Art is good for our mental health. It can be making music, painting, dancing, martial arts, cooking, videos, photography, yoga, whatever your art is," HALO Founder and CEO Rebecca Welsh said in a news release. "2020 has challenged us all, so we created #ArtDoesGood to spread positivity and inspire others through the power of art. We invite you to join this movement because with every hour you spend making, and every piece you take the time to create, you'll be giving one more homeless child a safe place to call home."

The event runs through Dec. 31 and anyone can start at anytime. To participate, visit haloworldwide.org/artdoesgood for tips on how to start a fundraising page, whether individual or for a team, then start making art, whether it's culinary, performing, visual or other. Then, simply share what you've created on social media using #ArtDoesGood to help inspire donations to your page. (It should be noted anyone can fundraise without creating art, as well.)

As of Wednesday, the ART-a-THON had raised just more than $21,000, with a total fundraising goal of $150,000, which will be used to support HALO programs. In the news release, HALO Learning Centers around the world are described as using art to promote healing for youth who have experienced childhood trauma. By giving them an expressive outlet, HALO helps them learn how to identify and express emotions in different ways.

HALO is using that approach in the ART-a-THON, noting in the release this is "a collective creative movement to boost mental health during COVID-19," while also referencing a June 2020 CDC study that found anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation had all increased over the past year.

"HALO believes art heals, transforms lives, and gives children a safe outlet for self-expression when they feel they don't have a voice," Welsh said in the release. "We all could use #ArtDoesGood right now in our lives to challenge ourselves with creativity, while also helping homeless children."

To learn more or participate, visit haloworldwide.org/artdoesgood, email [email protected] or call 816-472-4256. An online #ArtDoesGood celebration will be held Jan. 6 to highlight some of the art created during the event and announce fundraising prizes and totals raised.

To see some of the art already created during the ART-a-THON, find HALO on Instagram (@haloempowersyouth).