HALO online fundraiser kicks off today

Julie Smith/News Tribune

Kayla Keller makes a display of some of the items created by HALO residents who made the artistic items at the facility. Keller serves as operations manager at HALO, which is kicking off a fundraiser to help fund its programs.

HALO's online fundraising campaign, #ArtDoesGood, kicks off today.

Although it is starting about a month earlier than in 2020, for the second consecutive year HALO (Helping Art Liberate Orphans) is hosting a six-week campaign to raise money to support the nonprofit's programs.

HALO provides housing, healing and education for homeless and at-risk children around the world. The nonprofit has learning centers and housing programs in Jefferson City and Kansas City, and programming in New York and in Portland, Oregon.

It supports orphanages in Uganda, Kenya, Mexico and India.

The campaign continues through Nov. 30, which is known as Giving Tuesday.

For more information, to donate or create a team to get involved, visit www.haloworldwide.org/artdoesgood. People can also get involved by sending an email to [email protected] or calling 816-472-4256.

The website allows individuals or teams to create fundraising pages. Participants may also do art alongside HALO clients.

Participation may start at any time.

The campaign goal this year is $75,000. Sponsors have stepped up to match the first $12,500 donated dollar for dollar.

"Homeless kids need a safe place to heal from their traumatic past," Rebecca Welsh, HALO founder and CEO, said in a HALO news release. "At HALO, we've seen that art heals and supports the mental health of our kids, especially during COVID-19."

Participation in the fundraising campaign will help the nonprofit continue to provide homeless children with therapeutic art, safety and support, she continued.

Studies indicate people demonstrating symptoms of anxiety or depression increased during the pandemic, the news release points out. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found depressive conditions in adults increased by up to about 41.5 percent during the pandemic.

And, people reporting unmet mental health concerns was up nearly 12 percent.

HALO Learning Centers around the world use art as a tool to promote youth healing.

"Youth who attend the learning centers have experienced varying degrees of childhood trauma, including abuse, neglect and homelessness, that they must begin to heal from in order to visualize themselves with a positive, stable future," the news release said. "Rather than having HALO youth explain to yet another person or stranger what has happened to them in the past, HALO gives them the expressive outlet of art to tell their story, to get to know them, and to begin that healing process."

Results have been positive, the release said.