From left: Kathryn Higgins, AmeriCorps Member; Wendy Brand, Vice President, CRCF Board of Directors; Karen Hill, Executive Director, Child Advocacy Center; Dr. Anthony Evans, Board Member, CRCF; and Karen Niemic Buchheit, Executive Director, CRCF, with art kits that will be provided to child victims at the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center.

The Cattaraugus County Arts Council expressed its sincere thanks to the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation for funding a collaborative art kit project with the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center this spring. CCAC has worked hard in the past year to expand new programming and collaborations with organizations outside of the arts and culture sector and this project was a wonderful opportunity for all involved.

Located in Olean, the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center works to provide a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to child victims of sexual and physical abuse in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. They provide a safe, child-friendly environment for interviews, medical examinations, and support and are committed to reducing trauma, promoting justice and fostering healing.

Since the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center opened in September 2007, it has helped more than 2,300 children and their families.

Visual and written expression have been recognized as a means of providing stress relief, a source of pride and joy to the creators. Children are naturally creative and making artwork or writing expressively is a way to allow kids to tackle tough issues as a means of self-discovery, stress relief, emotional healing, dealing with a loss, developing social skills and/or self-actualization.

With that in mind, the arts council’s AmeriCorps Member, Kathryn Higgins, designed a program to provide art kits for the children served by the Child Advocacy Center. Each kit contains age-appropriate and safe items approved by Child Advocacy Center and includes sketchbooks, colored pencils, watercolor paints, crayons, stickers and more.

Funding for this project was generously provided by the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation. The Community Foundation awarded $1,700 from their Community Fund for the Child Advocacy Center art kit project.

Thank you to the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation and the wonderful staff of the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center. Thanks to your support, we hope that these art kits will provide the recipients with a long-term, portable and healthy means of stress management and healing.