At HHI’s 25th anniversary celebration in April 2013, volunteer and donor Stephanie Markel, DDS, spoke passionately about her love for drawing, painting and leather tooling. She showed incredible pictures of her beautiful work and planted a seed of an idea: Did we think that mothers would enjoy a creative outlet through art?

By October 2013, we had talked with mothers and staff at People’s Emergency Center (PEC) and planned to pilot a six-week series of leather working classes. Magic happened around the tables at PEC as mothers designed and painted beautiful bracelets, key chains, belts and handbags. While their children played with HHI volunteers in the room next door, mothers and volunteers relaxed, talked, laughed and even cried as we created personal works of art and formed a safe and healing community. Back by popular demand and with a few experienced mothers as informal peer leaders, additional sessions of Friday Fun with Art were offered in the winter and spring of 2014.

The success of this meaningful project is due to the generosity and spirit of Stephanie Markel and the incredible teams of volunteers and staff and mothers.

— Melissa Bennett, MD