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There are many organizations that provide safe havens to adults and their children who are fleeing abusive relationships.  They teach the adults to break free from the cycle of abuse and empower them to move on.

Often times, children find themselves in abusive situations and don’t have the know-how or the support to find a safe haven.  Helping Children of Abuse focuses on teaching children of abuse to mitigate, cope, survive, and escape these situations intact.

April and Friends™ :

Helping Children of Abuse will present April and Friends™, storybooks created by the organization that teach and provide examples of healthy relationships, non-violence, coping skills and self-esteem.   By dealing with issues generally avoided or rarely discussed, children learn how to live well in unfortunate circumstances.  Strengthening a child’s core, in effect, inoculating their self-image against destructive attacks empowers them to weather even the most serious of storms with skillful means. 

The storybooks are distributed to the children in a group setting, and then read aloud to communicate gentleness, kindness, patience and unconditional love in the characters’ voices.  Volunteers leading the reading will have an opportunity to work directly with the children and help them learn about healthy relationships so they may take these skills back to the home.  Afterward, the children are encouraged to submit artwork, a poem, a letter or a drawing to April sharing their experiences and feelings in a fun and harmless way.  By identifying with April, the intention is to encourage children to no longer feel isolated and to share what they previously may have regarded as something that makes them different from other kids.  


We have created Mudflower as an open studio space for youth art creation that provides for free expression of feelings and ideas.  By establishing a space for these works to exist, children can learn that they are not alone and that feelings of isolation, which may prohibit the exposure of bad situations, can begin to break down.  Art provides a healthy direct expression of suffering that may otherwise become avoided, internalized and suppressed.  Working with local artists, theater groups, and art schools, we intend to emphasize the potential for enhancing inquiry, self-discovery and personal growth.  Pieces submitted to April may also be anonymously displayed here to encourage a sense of community and relieve feelings of isolation. 


Bike Ravinia:

Helping Children of Abuse presented Bike Ravinia, a group bicycle ride for children and adults starting at the WTTW Channel 11 WFMT Channel 98.7 studio on Chicago’s northwest side, winding through city and suburban neighborhoods and scenic bicycle paths to the Ravinia Festival, where everyone can find inspiration by classical music programs.  The accomplishment of bicycling under one’s own power offers a child realized manifestations of their inner-strength, autonomy and freedom.  Exposure to the classical music provides a vast landscape where a child’s imagination is free to explore feelings facilitated by an already written score for a movie in their minds of very personal stories as it unfolds in three-dimensional space.  Music can help us work out complexities; comprehend concepts and emotions where words fail us.  Empowered by personally identifying with the passion and emotion inherent in the piece, we no longer see ourselves as alone, isolated or different.  This understanding encourages us to communicate our situation more skillfully on our path to independence from abuse.