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Creating Seeds of Joy with the Salvation Army in Vancouver

"Now I know what I need to do this coming week [to take care of myself]!" said *Kathy with confidence, a first time attendee at the Art for the Heart women's group.

christian justice community transformation vancouver downtown eastside art therapy
Empowering women on the margins with creative resilience skills

Our staff have been hosting these expressive arts groups regularly throughout this pandemic with the hopes of nurturing a few of the 9 Signs of Transformation we cultivate alongside those on the margins, including Beauty and Creativity, Lifelong Learning and Breakthrough to Freedom.

Throughout March and April, Krista-Dawn is co-leading this partnership with Boundless Church, a ministry of the Salvation Army. The purpose of this group is to journey with women on the margins by building joy and emotional resiliency through creative expression and art making.

Attendees have not been able to meet in person for the past two years due to pandemic regulations at their supportive housing and are excited to learn how to support their emotional health again in community! Neisy, the leader of the women's program reflects, "They have been through so much in isolation. This is a way to enjoy being together and learn to process what they have come through."

Nurturing Resilience with Creativity and Positive Thinking

christian justice community transformation vancouver downtown eastside art therapy
Creative expression brings calm to our minds, bodies and hearts

Each week, we reflect on small everyday things that bring us joy, including just being able to be in each other's presence. Learning some emotional resilience tools and creating art together soothes our bodies and brains.

When reflecting on the ups and downs of our experience of the river of life this past year, one group member shared what's gotten her through: "You have to hold on to the positive".

These kinds of creative activities expand our toolbox of resilience resources we have to draw on when challenges arise. Acknowledging that women and families experiencing poverty have fewer material resources and social capital to rely on during challenges, we hope to empower them with accessible skills that add to their resiliency and capacity to weather the impacts of marginalization - especially during the ongoing pressures from the pandemic.

Each session we end with a quieting breath prayer, acknowledging Jesus as the One that invites us to carry our burdens and find rest in Him. We invite you to try it out now:

A Simple Breath Prayer for Calming

Breathe in and pray "Thank you Jesus"

Then breathe out completing the sentence with a quality of Jesus you appreciate or a gift you have received in your day. For example, "You give me life."

Spend as long as you like enjoying Jesus' presence with this breath prayer.

Curious about what it looks like to nurture emotional health alongside women on the margins using creative and artistic tools?

We are recruiting volunteers to help facilitate these groups as well as churches or organizations to co-host these in the lower mainland area of Vancouver. If you are interested, please email Krista-Dawn at

Looking for resources to creatively build joy? Check out "Seeds of Joy: the Healing Power of Story-Prayer", a book published by Servant Partners Press.

Dorothy invites you to meet Jesus in your own story and nurture joy through prayer, community and creative reflections.

Available for $7 on Kindle or $25 for hard copies within Canada - and we are offering Canada-wide free shipping! Email to purchase.

*Name has been changed.

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