Comments Pave the Way for Both Research and Global Arts Therapy

I never dreamed when I started doing Comments for a Cause in April 2011 that I would get so wrapped up in the causes that I discovered.   It has been such a blessing to both my husband and myself to be able to support some wonderful people and causes along the way.  Every month the new “cause” presents itself and I have no doubt that it is God-guided.  The other neat outcome is that others have joined in and if you check out the right side of my blog you will find a spot where I list other bloggers who are doing the same thing on their blogs.  Thank you to them for joining in with their own version of Comments for a Cause.

January was a great month for comments and I am thrilled to reveal that we will be making a donation of $279 to the Cancer Research Institute in support of Dave Courtenay’s Camino De Santiago Walk.   You can read all about it by clicking on this link to take you to a separate page.  A lot of Dave’s family and friends and co-workers of his wife Marian chimed in on the comments this month and it was fabulous to “meet” them all.  I would love to meet them all in arts therapy

I belong to several Facebook groups for bloggers and recently a random post on my Iowa Bloggers page caught my eye.  Samantha Lee Thomas is an amazing young woman who is the CEO at Global Arts Therapy.  She also writes a blog (which is how I found her on Iowa Bloggers) at Global Arts Girl.   A quick comment on the group page led me to the Global Arts Therapy website and from there I was hooked.  On their front page the statement “Change the World with Art” caught my eye and I knew this was a cause that we could all support.   Several emails  went back and forth and I found that Samantha was a charming and enthusiastic advocate for using art as a way to bridge children who are underserved to greater things.   I decided to simply ask Samantha a few questions in order to allow my readers to understand a bit more of what the organization does.

Samantha Lee Thomas

Samantha Lee Thomas

Tell me a few things about yourself and how this organization began.    I began traveling with my parents when I was a young child and was always encouraged to explore different cultures. At the age of 20 I traveled to London to study abroad and fell in love with seeing the world. Shortly after London I went to Prague CZ to study for two semesters, this is where Global Arts Therapy began, I wrote a counter-cultural term paper that was the blueprint for an art center that used art to create jobs and promote business training programs through artistic principles. I came back to Iowa to finish my degree of international relations at Drake University and then flew to South Korea to teach art and multicultural education to youth. During my first year of teaching in South Korea (2012) I had the pleasure of linking up with CWIN (Child workers in Nepal) to teach art programs, prior to the trip I collected art supplies from individuals who wanted to donate and then brought the supplies to Kathmandu, after teaching classes I found a great need to continue the efforts. In February 2013 Global Arts Therapy incorporated and by April we were preparing to apply for tax exempt status.

In a nutshell–what does Global Arts Therapy do?   Global Arts Therapy brings arts and music programs as well as sustainable development projects to urban youth in Iowa and Nepal. We have partnered and worked with Iowa Homeless Youth Centers as well as Community Youth Concepts. We believe that art and music can do more than teach just creative thinking. We believe it can help students understand other subjects such as hard sciences and math. If we use art and music to engage children we can further empower, improve and develop our communities and their young global citizens. We also aim to bring cross cultural relations to individuals in Nepal and Iowa. We want our great children in Iowa and Nepal to share in each others cultures-to further improve and develop international relations among youth.
How many youth have you reached so far and what are your goals?  We have reached about 100 youth since the beginning in 2012 however we want to engage up to 1500 youth within the next year (750 in Iowa and 750 in Nepal)
Why Iowa?  Why Nepal?   The reason why we are reaching out to Iowa and Nepal is because both places have a lot to offer. Iowa is a beautiful state with lots of opportunities for individuals to learn, share and create great futures. Nepal is ranked 157 out of 185 (being the poorest) on the United Nations Human Development Index, Global Arts Therapy wants to help individuals in Nepal gain access to education, clean water and create sustainable jobs and programs to help eradicate poverty. All of these great things can be achieved by sharing with Iowa, our programs also help assist with cross cultural relations and allow young Iowans an opportunity to share with their global neighbors. In future years to come we aim to implement programs in Czech Republic, South Korea and Ghana. I would also like to see our outreach expand to Cambodia in later years to come.
What specific projects do you do with the youth?  We have done a lot of art therapy inspired projects to begin with, focusing on personality, character, the self within society, individual voice and sharing unique and positive/negative messages with the world. We have used recycled materials such as cardboard and newspaper. We are heading to Nepal in April of 2014 and then we will really begin with job training programs and creating sustainable art programs. An example of a project we will be doing is creating water filters and pottery that rural communities can use to create clean water. We will also be working on developing music studios and an instrument program in both Iowa and Nepal.
Anything else you want my readers to know? Here’s your chance!!!    We are a grassroots organization that tries to promote the well being of youth in Iowa and Nepal. We are open, we share and value every person that wants to be part of our program. Everyone has a special talent and we want to have individuals from all walks of life participate in our projects. Art and music are powerful tools that can be used for great things. Art is in everything and is everywhere.  We are trying to focus on the idea that art and music are not just for galleries or the elite whom choose to purchase it. Art is a significant part of culture and narrates a greater story from the person who creates it. Global Arts Therapy is trying to show that art is a water filter, it is a poem, it is a new design concept. Creative thinking and ingenuity is what drives global society and will empower our future generations and leaders of tomorrow.  Global Arts Therapy is currently looking for new board members for 2014-2015. I welcome the opportunity to speak with individuals in Iowa who would like to participate on our board. We will also be launching a crowd funding campaign early February to help raise money and awareness of our great cause, for details please visit our website at or like us on facebook Global Arts TherapyI think you will agree with me that this is a positively wonderful cause to be supporting this month on It’s Just Life.   For every comment that is made on any post during the month of February a donation of 50 cents will be made to the support of Global Arts Therapy.  If you feel so inclined to donate on your own you can do that easily on their website .
Special thanks to Sam for all of her great responses and for giving me the pictures below to include in this post.  Click on any picture to view a larger image and begin a slideshow.

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  1. I love this post ~ what a difference you’ve made and the momentum in which you are making a difference, connecting with others and being yourself is inspiring! I love it! ♥

    • Thanks! I think this is a wonderful “CAUSE” and am very excited to share it with you guys. But then I get excited every month about the cause, don’t I? 🙂

      • Beth Ann – I love this! What a great organization and I’m so happy they will be the recipient of Comments for a Cause this month. You’re doing great things, my friend. 🙂

  2. What a great project and a fun way to make a real difference in the world!

  3. How rewarding to be making a difference, regardless of its size! Well done, Beth Ann — keep up the awesome work. Sounds like an interesting new cause, too.

    • Thanks, Debbie. I am thrilled to be able to do this little part and this new cause is very exciting because I can just envision what a difference it can make in a young person’s life. Samantha’s enthusiasm is very contagious!

  4. Congratulations for raising a nice chunk of money for Dave Courtenay’s Camino De Santiago Walk. for Cancer research! You find the most amazing causes to support (or maybe they find you) I am very excited about this month’s cause. The world needs more people like Samantha Lee Thomas. You can be sure I’ll be commenting away as much as possible.

    • I agree—she is pretty amazing from all I have learned and VERY passionate about the arts and sharing with those who do not have access to what “we” take for granted. The month is going to be amazing. Thanks, Darlene. I will try to have some decent posts to entertain this month!

  5. Bless you and Chris, Beth Ann. The good you are doing through Comments for a Cause blesses people in more ways than you will ever know. For one, you focus on the positive being done in the world today. And that’s such a good place to start.

    • Thank you, Audrey. There is a lot of positive stuff going on in the world and sometimes it gets overshadowed by all the negativity. I think Samantha is the perfect example of one of the folks who “gets” it and is actually doing something to promote the positive things in the world.

  6. Hello Beth Ann and everyone who has commented so far! My name is Kim and I am on the board for Global Arts Therapy. I just wanted to thank you all for your support and interest in our cause. Please take a look at our website and follow us on social media for updates! And Beth Ann, thank you so much for running this blog, supporting us and donating, and especially for helping us spread the word!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Kim. Samantha did a great job of telling us what Global Arts Therapy is all about and it is an incredible organization. Happy to be a small part of your journey!

  7. Wonderful! Would love to hear about it if they bring this program to south Korea!

  8. This seems to be a wonderful group and very worthy cause. Great post!

    • Thanks, McGuffy Ann. I think it embraces a lot of great things all at the same time that we can all get behind and support. Thanks for stopping by before your big trip!

  9. This is wonderful. Lots of luck to Samantha and Global Arts Therapy.

  10. I just love your Comments for a Cause, Beth Ann! What a lovely way to give back to the community. Thank you for introducing me to Global Arts Therapy. Best of luck to Samantha. Keep going strong!

  11. Wonderful! Love this new cause!

  12. I also think this is a great cause to add to your list. It sounds like a wonderful thing to do for the children.

  13. This is an amazing project they have been working on for awhile. I am excited to assist Global Arts Therapy in 2014. Thank you everyone for the support! There are great ideas ready to erupt!

  14. It’s wonderful to see an organization that values the arts as an essential part of child development, no matter the child’s economic circumstance.

  15. marianbuenos says:

    Thank you for doing this! All the money goes to a great cause 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by. I am thrilled to be a teeny part of this and to help promote what looks to be a wonderful cause on It’s Just Life. Come back anytime!

  16. Tristan Weinmaster says:

    I support this work. Samantha is an ambitious and hard working woman. A lot of good will come from Global Arts Therapy. 🙂

    • Tristan, Thanks so much for stopping by It’s Just Life and leaving a comment. I am thrilled to be able to share another great cause with my readers.

  17. Good luck with the new Comments for a Cause – it looks like a worthy enterprise!

  18. A very worthy cause indeed, I have been fortunate enough to have traveled around the world and visit many 3rd world countries, People just need the tools, they can do the rest, Art and Music live hand in hand and are our earliest form of expression, Good luck on this global project

  19. I love this cause, Beth Ann! I like that Samantha will be able to enrich lives here and abroad.

  20. This is inspiring! Thank you Samantha for being the person behind what I believe to be a co-creative, amazingly uplifting cause. Perhaps some day I might be able to contribute in a bigger way.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment! It is such an amazing project and I am thrilled to “meet” Samantha and all the others who are involved!

  21. Awesome concept and way to help worthwhile causes. I’m gonna try on my site too.

    • Let me know if you do decide to do it and then I will promote you and add you to my sidebar where I have other blogs that do it. It has been THE best thing I have done here on my blog. 🙂

I love your comments--each one makes me smile and makes a difference for Comments for a Cause! Thanks!

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