Our flagship program is our Art Mentorship Program for at–risk youth aged 13 – 18. We provide a safe space for youth to socialize after school and express through visual art, music, poetry, and yoga.
The Infinite Expansion Foundation was created from our personal experience of adversity. The ability to express yourself creatively is fundamental in the development of self-awareness and self-love. Our goal is to provide youth with the tools, environment, community and mentors with lived experience to facilitate their growth towards their true selves in the face of pressures at home, school and in their lives.
Program Purpose and Objectives
· Prevent addiction, crime and violence through connection, self-expression, and inspiration.
· Create a safe space that inspires connection with peers and mentors.
· Positive role models equip our participants with tools to realize their dreams.
Target & Activities
Our vision is to create a safe space free from judgment and provide the necessary tools to allow kids to find their own method of self-expression. Our team of intellectuals, artisans, and mentors (who have followed the "wrong path", learned their lessons, and are now living their dream lives) share their knowledge to inspire youth to find their true expression through healthy activities and hobbies to redirect addictive, and destructive behaviors.
We will have a welcoming facility for youth to discover and grow their passion. We are partnered with a top music recording studio for people passionate to share their lives through music. Our space will inspire learning and expression of passion and we will also host various workshops to teach basic job and life skills. This mentorship program can also lead to an employment programs where that fits with the participants dreams.
Addiction, crime, and violence go hand in hand. Any youth is at risk of becoming a victim of drug addiction these days. The overall benefit this program will have on the community could include:
· Lower rates of property crime,
· Reduce substance abuse and overdoses, and
· Increase the rates of students graduating high school.
We will help students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. To leverage their strengths and learn from their weaknesses to grow. Teaching self-worth will lead them to a better understanding of their place in society and using their creativity to pursue a career they will love. Youth with multiple barriers to success will have a healthy thriving community to realize their dreams. People who have struggled at school will improve self-love, confidence, self-regulation and their capacity for respectful communication.
Proof of Concept in Regards to Art Therapy
With the fentanyl crisis growing more and more rampant each year; action must be taken immediately to help our youth and provide a safe space for them. Every year that goes by the number of homelessness amongst youth is growing exponentially and becoming a real crisis in our society. We feel that our mentorship program will give the youth a sense of purpose and help them better understand their role in society.
It is our opinion that addiction leads to homelessness, crime and possible violence. Art Therapy could have a profound effect on preventing addiction and crime.
Art therapy is a great way to deal with past traumas, and also to release aggression through expression. Here is part of an article titled “Physiological Benefits of Art Therapy” written by Asa Down Brown, in 2012 regarding the potential benefits of art therapy.
· Art Therapy is capable of promoting self-expression, feelings, and emotions.
· It has an ability to facilitate positive perspectives on one’s self. It is capable of promoting a sense of personal independence, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency.
· Art Therapy has an ability to help a child work through difficult experiences. It allows a child to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions that might otherwise be abandoned or sealed from society. Therapy instills constructive techniques to self-manage.
· It can increase one’s awareness and orientation (i.e. persons, places, dates, and times). It is capable of facilitating and developing strategies for hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and finger dexterity and speed.
· It encourages the development of healthy coping strategies.
· Therapy can facilitate insight, empathy, and acceptance of other’s life challenges.
· It is capable of promoting problem-solving skills.
· Art therapy is capable of exploring, managing, and providing insight into traumatic experiences.
· A child receiving therapy is encouraged to develop interpersonal skills. It empowers and gives a voice to those receiving therapy. It is capable of helping a child increase their attention-span, while decreasing any festering frustrations.
“Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.” (American Art Therapy Association, 2012, Online)
“Numerous case studies have reported that art therapy benefits patients with both emotional and physical illnesses. Case studies have involved many areas, including burn recovery in adolescents and young children, eating disorders, emotional impairment in young children, reading performance, and childhood grief. Studies of adults using art therapy have included adults or families in bereavement, patients and family members dealing with addictions… ‘Some of the potential uses of art therapy to be researched include reducing anxiety levels, improving recovery times, decreasing hospital stays, improving communication and social function, and pain control.” (American Cancer Society, 2012, Online)
“Over the course of the year, the number of young people who spend some time homeless in Canada is as many as 40,000, and on any given night, there may be up to 7,000 homeless youth.”-https://www.covenanthousetoronto.ca/homeless-youth/Youth-Homelessness 
Here is a passage written by Graeme Martell expressing how art changed his life. “I feel that embracing not only art, but the liberal arts is fundamental in helping people understand the beauty in not only the world around them, but also their purpose in this universe. After learning to express thyself only then did I finally get to know myself, and love myself for whom I am. The quest of expression to see the beauty in myself has led me to see the beauty in nature and also other individuals. Through self-expression I have learned to respect other people’s opinions and beliefs. The first lost art that I discovered was painting, one day I had an overwhelming need to express myself and created this painting from drywall and various black and white paint I had lying around my house. Recently I have discovered Philosophy and have been writing allegorical poems that have a deeper sense of self reflection. It has led me to supplement my chemical addictions into an addiction of expression and knowledge, to learn, and to create. Poetry has allowed me view things from a completely different perspective, for example here is a poem I wrote ‘If we were to think of ourselves as a plant, and its flowers are to symbolize love, then only after we harnessed the power from the sun, could we grow and bloom. Our seeds of love will be spread by the winds of change.’” The discovery of art that has made me the person I am today."
Together we will fill a gap in our community to support at-risk-youth to thrive.