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Trip Reports

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #1 – October 2005

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #2– December 2005

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #3– February 2006

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #4– April 2006

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #5– June 2006

Renaissance Village Teens at Idyllwild Arts Academy – July 2006

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #6 – August 2006

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #7– May 2007

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #8– August 2007

Renaissance Village Art Therapy Trip #9– September 2007


In the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, the survivors were left to find shelter in hotels, community centers and trailer parks. One of these communities of survivors is the FEMA trailer site known as Renaissance Village in Baker, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge.

Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation (RFAK) initially responded to the disaster by delivering supplies to the area. It became apparent to RFAK that many survivors were suffering from psychological devastation with long-term implications. Through mutual contacts, RFAK approached Karla Leopold, an art therapist and psychotherapist specializing in working with families and children. With RFAK’s financial support, Ms. Leopold assembled a team of trained art therapists as well as other professionals, teachers and volunteers. The team arrived at Renaissance Village on October 10, 2005 and made bi-monthly visits to the community for the first year.

Sister Judith Brun, a Baton Rouge educator and children’s advocate, who provided invaluable guidance in helping the art therapists connect with the Renaissance Village community, realized the great need for the art therapy teams to continue their trips to work with the children after the initial funding expired. With financial support from AEG Live, The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Share Our Strength and The Timberland Company Sister Brun founded the Community Initiatives Foundation (CIF), which has sustained the art therapy trips.  The teams have not only brought continued art therapy to the community tent, they are also providing training to local art therapists, social workers, teachers and volunteers. 

In 2007 a significant grant was presented to CIF from Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation, founded by country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.  Their generous donation is helping to sustain and grow this much-needed work with the children of Katrina, their families and the supporting communities.  Not only could the magnitude of the trauma these children experienced last a life-time, but it has exposed the needs of other children who had experienced other traumas such as domestic violence, depravation, excessive loss and neglect.  It is a goal of CIF to develop high quality training programs for those who interact with these high-need children.