Women's Resource Center

Art Impacts... Art strengthens communication for kids who've experienced domestic violence.

Discover more about Paint Love's impact.

Paint Love utilizes the power of the arts to make an impact on youth who are facing some of life’s most difficult circumstances. It is our hope that every child, teen, and young adult that experiences a Paint Love program will discover inner strength, to help them face the adversity in their life. 

One demographic we work with is children who have experienced domestic violence.  Through our partnership with the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, we have been able to carefully curate programs that address the specific needs of this group. 

Kids who have experienced violence at home often find it challenging or even physically impossible to talk about their experiences. Trauma such as domestic violence can directly interfere with the part of the brain that manages language capacity, impeding development and leaving children with limited capacity to communicate verbally. Artistic expression engages parts of the brain that don’t rely on verbalization, so art can help them to find their  voice, and know that what they have to say matters.

Artist Nikita Raper led kids at Camp PEACE in creating these amazing clay platters. They designed the patterns, cut and glazed the pieces, and Nikita fired them in the kiln, bringing out these incredible colors. Research shows that allowing kids who’ve experienced trauma like those we serve with Camp PEACE, the chance to achieve a sense of mastery and participation in something they enjoy, helps them learn that their efforts matter, and they matter.

Camp PEACE is the summer program of the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. WRCDV “strive[s] to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the diverse community of battered women and their children with programs that promote safety, compassion, connection, advocacy, and prevention.” 


Because of the generosity of the Paint Love community, we have been able to offer them over 20 art projects, to serve over 200 students over three years! 

Paper Mache Balloons at Camp Peace

Last week, we also had our first summer project with Camp Peace, a program offered by the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. Another event lead by the wonderful Mandy Goodwin, we started work on a paper mache project that we’ll finish up next week. The project entails creating a hot air balloon out of paper mache from which campers will hang positive affirmations about themselves. It’s a creative and engaging way to foster confidence and self-love in youth.

For the first part of the project, our volunteers mixed paste, cut newspaper strips, and blew up balloons for all the campers. The kids then covered their balloons in around three layers of paper mache. Afterwards, we set them all out to dry so they would be ready to go for part two next week. It was a bit of a sticky mess, but the campers had a great time! 

For the second week, once the balloons had been given enough time to harden, students popped the deflating balloon, and were able to paint the outside of the hard shell in bright rainbow colors. We made the basket out of a cup, and wrote affirmations on strips of paper to attach to the base. It was so beautiful to see the pieces coming together, and the kids were so excited!! 

Affirmation Hot Air Balloons with Camp Peace

Cobb County school district social worker and Paint Love artist Mandy Goodwin lead an inspiring project for the kids at Camp Peace. On the first session of this two-week project, campers learned how to make paper mache balloons. Each kid took a balloon and covered it in strips of newspaper dipped in paste.

Paint Love and Camp Peace self affirmation hot air balloon project

Once each one was sufficiently sticky, we set them aside to dry. Then, each camper took four strips of construction paper on which they wrote positive affirmations about themselves. Proclamations of “I am smart,” “I am funny,” and “I am beautiful,” filled the room.

self affirmations paper mache hot air balloon project with Paint Love and Camp PEACE Atlanta

The next week, we returned the dried paper mache to the campers and helped them pop and remove the balloons on the inside. After that, they each painted their paper mache products in a variety of bright colors to turn them into hot air balloons! Some kids stuck with abstract designs, while others turned theirs into something specific - like a strawberry or a face. Once they’d finished, we used string to hang small styrofoam cups from the bottom of each. Then, the kids took the affirmations they wrote the week before and attached them to the bottom of the cups.

Self affirmation paper mache hot air balloon project with Paint Love and Camp Peace

When they set their balloons down to dry, we loved seeing the kids’ colorful creations all around the room. The project was such a creative way foster self-love in the campers. The hot air balloons remind us that positivity lifts us up while negativity drags us down. We’re so excited to keep making art with these great kids for the rest of the summer!

paper mache balloon project with Paint Love at Camp Peace Atlanta