WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Healing through art. That's Brian Woods' mission, a licensed mental health therapist and artist who is combining his two passions to help the most vulnerable children in the West Palm Beach area.
Woods works with youth who have experienced past trauma such as human trafficking and other abuse.
"I do it because I have a passion for the youth and for people," said Woods.
Through the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Woods and artist Maxwell Mittman lead the "Art of the Phoenix" healing program. Together, they are helping countless children recover and heal.
"I've been amazed by his heart, by his willingness to kind of give to these kids and to give back to the community and to even have this program available," said Mittman of Woods.
The students can't be identified, but the magnitude of what Woods and Mittman do can be seen through the students' art and their words. A book showcasing the work of some of the very first victims of human trafficking to take the class is titled "From Brokenness to Light."
"To recognize that even though we are broken, we still have value and you know learning to work through whatever traumas we’re dealing with to help others and to help ourselves," said Woods.
"My image shows me learning to drop the 10,000 pound weight I have been carrying with me for years," one student said. "This program has been teaching me how to face my feelings and problems in healthy ways."
The program recently expanded to include helping youth who have experienced past trauma from any circumstance, not only human trafficking.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Woods still helps lead the classes but virtually.
You can learn more about the program by clicking here.