Tag Archives: Ghana

What’s My Name?

“What’s my name?” A new volunteer will hear that time and time again during their stay at the Care Center in Kumasi. When I take teams, we always send out a master list of all the kids bios in advance so that the group can learn a few names + faces before they arrive. It will take time and effort to study their beautiful, little faces and find one thing that will set them apart from the other 82 children and teenagers. Remember the story that God will leave the 99 and go after the one? I think that is the scripture that I am reminded of with these children. They are all so beautiful in the eyes of God. He wants them called by name. The Touch A Life children come from horrific backgrounds and carry heartbreaking stories of abandonment and rejection. They have been orphaned or sold by their parents into a life of slavery. I ask myself: How does one find self worth in life again after watching money or livestock exchanged for their freedom? I don’t know. I personally cannot wrap my head around the betrayal these innocent souls have been asked to endure. Taking care […]

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World Water

Today is World Water Day. Clean drinking water is something that we take for granted every single day. Many Ghanaians do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation facilities, and many face water scarcity during the dry season. When we arrived in Ghana, we were cautioned against drinking any water that was not in a plastic bottle with an unbroken seal. Thankfully we were never in a situation where we did not have access to clean water. As we drove down the streets, there were men and women selling small plastic bags of clean water. Along each side of the street, there are trenches littered with garbage and excretion creating dirty, contaminated water. Unfortunately, many families rely on surface water to survive, leaving them more susceptible to water-related illness and disease. According to research conducted by Water.org, “seventy percent of all diseases in Ghana are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.” Pam explains in her book, Jantsen’s Gift, why it is essential for the children and staff at Touch A Life to have access to a well. “Ghana is one of several nations where it’s possible to contract a disease called Guinea worm from drinking contaminated water. […]

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Skin Care Classes at the Care Center

We love hearing stories of how a trip to our Care Center in Ghana made an impact on our volunteers. Today Patty Wolverton, from Genesis Church in Phoenix, is sharing her story of her trip to Ghana during our health fair in August. My family includes three children – two boys a girl, and we are blessed with three precious grandkids. Since we all live in different states, traveling occupies most of our free time so that we can invest in our family. My husband’s job relocated us to the Phoenix area about ten years ago, which is where we currently reside, although originally, I am from the Seattle area. Touch A Life was on our radar back in 2007 when our pastor, Pat Stark from Genesis church, traveled to Ghana. It touched my husband and me deeply, learning about the trafficked kids that were fishing, especially since my husband has worked in the seafood industry for years. After hearing about hearing about Touch A Life, we took the first step and started sponsoring a young man at the Care Center named Raul. This past August, I was able to travel to Ghana myself. Going to the Touch A Life […]

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New Well for the Care Center

Water is everything. Access to a nearby well means less time transporting water and more time spent learning and creating. Access to clean, filtered water lowers the risk of parasites and disease. With the help of the Sanches family (and their Walk for Water!) and the Brad Forslund family, Touch A Life was able to update the purification system on the well that supplies water to the majority of our Care Center, and build a second brand new well. The new well is strategically positioned on the edge of the Care Center property in Kumasi, Ghana, so that the neighbors in our community can also have access to clean water.      

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Using Collage in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series by our Art Therapist, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read Ally’s previous posts on art therapy in our blog archives. Collage is an excellent medium to use in an art therapy setting. For individuals who may not feel completely confident in their drawing abilities, collage is a great way for them to express themselves creatively without the pressure of making a realistic drawing. Additionally, the act of cutting and ripping images and gluing them together can be cathartic for some. Collage gives artists the opportunity to pull pieces from their surrounding environments and form their own collection of images and words that have personal meaning to them. From these pieces, they can create their own unique entity that reflects their inner world. Using old newspapers to compile images into collages is a favorite activity with the children at the Touch A Life Care Center. Upon request, the oldest boys at the care center participated in a free collage-making […]

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Exploring Safety Issues in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here, here and here. The children at the Touch A Life Care Center have come from varied backgrounds of slavery and exploitation, but one thing they have in common is a past that was not always safe. Feeling safe in one’s surroundings is important for all human beings, specifically children. Safety can mean many things, and pertain to: Physical safety: being away in proximity from immediate danger Emotional/Psychological safety: free from emotional/psychological harm and abuse, the ability to develop relationships based on trust rather than fear, feelings of security in one’s surroundings Emotional and physical safety can be compromised if a child has been in a dangerous or threatening situation. When a person enters art therapy, their safety situation should be assessed in order to help them surpass any obstacles they face toward living a physically and emotionally safe life. The art therapy […]

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Exploring Different Materials in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here, here and here.   One of the great benefits of using art in therapy is that the creative process allows for a variety of sensory experiences. Sight, smell, touch, and sound are all elements associated with art-making. The materials that one chooses to use for their artistic creation has great meaning. The way a person interacts with the art materials they use can bring up emotional states triggered by the sensory experience. For example, the act of molding clay can be overwhelming for some who may not be comfortable with moist or fluid-like materials. This person may prefer to use a more structured material such as colored pencil. For another person, colored pencil may seem restricting in comparison to clay, as clay is easily molded and colored pencil tends to be somewhat rigid. Art materials can be fun to explore as you […]

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Found Object Sculptures for Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here and here. “Found object originates from the French objet trouvé, describing art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function.” (Museum of Modern Art Collection, www.moma.org). Using everyday items, or “found objects,” in art can be a very meaningful experience. Found objects can include anything from old household items to discarded trash. By using found objects as an artistic way, the artist has the opportunity to take something seemingly mundane and turn it into a unique aesthetic entity. Found object creations are very valuable in art therapy because they allow the participant to attach their own unique meaning to items that may commonly hold a completely different significance to others. Making “found object art” can also metaphorically describe a transformation process by turning […]

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A Space for Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. One of the most important components to a successful art therapy approach is having a comfortable environment in which the therapy can take place. It is vital for both parties (the client and the therapist) to create a space that feels safe, nurturing, and conducive to building an open and trusting relationship. This notion was conceptualized by English pediatrition and psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnicott, who referred the therapeutic space as a “holding environment”. Winnicott’s theory asserts: “Term “holding” refers to the supportive environment that a therapist creates for a client. The concept can be likened to the nurturing and caring behavior a mother engages in with her child that results in a sense of trust and safety. Winnicott believed that this “holding environment” was critical to the therapeutic environment and could be created through the therapist’s direct engagement with a client. Winnicott also believed that antisocial […]

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A Return to Ghana

This week we have a guest post from Lauren Burton. Lauren is the leader of the Find Your Mark chapter in Nashville, TN, and she and her husband lead an annual team to our Care Center to provide dental assessments for each child. Her journey with Touch A Life began as an observer at a fundraising event, and now three years later, she is an adoptive parent and a key supporter in our work happening in Ghana. This month she will travel to Ghana with her family and adopted son, Micah, and will be sharing her family’s experiences throughout the summer. Sometimes life can feel monotonous. Like it is nothing more than a never-ending cycle of to-do lists and errands that threaten to define us. Sometimes though, maybe even every single day, God sends us opportunities that are meant to free us from this trivial haze. One of my chances came in a phone call from a friend inviting me to come with her and a medical team from Nashville, Tennessee, to work with the Touch A Life Foundation in Ghana. As a mom to three young children, it was the last thing I had time for, but it was […]

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