Kids make extraordinary masks for a good cause in art therapy class

COLLINGSWOOD, NJ (WPVI) — Abbie Kasoff had never heard of art therapy until she entered college in the mid-1980s.

“To learn to use art to help people who are struggling to communicate verbally, I thought, oh my god, I want to do that,” she said.

Kasoff founded the nonprofit Say it With Clay, which breaks with traditional therapy by introducing malleable materials into the mix.

“We use hands-on play programs for children and adults with disabilities and/or struggling with anything temporarily,” she said.

One of her art students is 11-year-old Abby Boehmke, who came to her a few years ago to help her deal with her anxiety.

“Fear feels like something is saying you can’t do something,” she said. “But when you do it, you realize you can do it.”

Abby’s mother, Elizabeth, said art therapy made the difference because it allowed her daughter to open up and talk more openly about difficult situations.

“With art therapy, she was able to distract herself within art,” says Elizabeth Boehmke. “That was the most important thing. It at least gave her something to focus on while she spoke.”

Say it With Clay has been able to help many more students like Abby through his art therapy.

The 7th edition of the “Faces of Value” fundraiser will take place this Saturday, September 17 at 6:00 p.m. An in-studio event with music and drinks will be complemented by a week-long virtual auction for more than 100 unique masks. Proceeds go to a scholarship fund that helps students enroll in programming.

“I can’t believe what we’ve accomplished over the last 10 years and I’m so excited for the next 10 years and where we’re going,” said Abbie Kasoff.

To learn more about Say it With Clay, visit their website.

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