Heart to Heart with Art’s mission is to find the unrecognized needs in our community and to use creativity to problem solve. Through hiring emancipated women from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility on one of our projects, we had a chance to better understand how difficult is for the women leaving incarceration. As a whole, our society needs to improve the current system in order to reduce recidivism.
Meeting those women and speaking with friends who work at Coffee Creek, parents whose children have been incarcerated and children whose parents are in prison. We wanted to see how we could help and thought our Heart to Hope bags might work. First we met with Captain Amanda Rasmussen and the Chaplin Claudia Al-Amin to see how our Heart to Hope bags would work for the women leaving prison who had no one to pick them up. They thought is was a great idea and gave us suggestions of what specific items the women needed. For example, a paper planner was needed for them to write down their meetings with their parole officers, because they don’t have phones. Then we included paper planners and created the “Fresh Start” kit for this demographic. The Chaplin Al-Amin and Captain Rasmussen knew which women needed the bags and gave them accordingly.
Then when we were packing the “Fresh Start” kits, one of the items we needed was soap. When we were researching places to buy bars of soap in bulk, we came across Clean 360 soap made by emancipated men in a vocational training program with Roots Community Health Center in Oakland, California. Heart to Heart with Art met with the CEO Aquil Naji who was the co-founder of this operation. We met the men making, soon to be our favorite soap. Mr. Naji’s Emancipation program is one of the best we have seen and the proof of the program working is shown in the low rate his employees returning to prison, addiction, or living on the streets. We were so impressed with how Roots Community was serving his community, we also got involved with their STOMP medical program , which is a mobile medical group that visits the homeless encampments. We provided Heart to Hope bags filled with hygiene items for the homeless and the doctors and staff delivered them for us. We all thought it was pretty cool to have emancipated men in California, providing soap and filling a need for newly emancipated women in Oregon. Then these men were surprised that their soap was going to Nepal.
In 2017 when we first visited Pushpa Basnet at her Butterfly House orphanage, we brought them Heart to Hope bags filled with Clean 360 soap and hygiene items, little toys and art supplies. The soap from Oakland, California went across the world to Kathmanu, Nepal to an orphanage that fosters the children of incarcerated parents. Their soap is really going 360 degrees; and is helping society heal in their own little way. Heart to Heart with Art is all about making heart connection with people, programs and produces. Now we’re heading back to Nepal with Heart to Hope bags for the mothers and children still incarcerated in local jails and remote prisons in Nepal. We also have special Heart to Hope bags and art therapy projects for the 40 children living with Pushpa and the Butterfly House. We are just starting this adventure and will have more to report in two weeks. Please stay tuned and follow our social media for play by play accounts of our trip in Nepal.
Add text about Nepal here! 🙂