“I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed working with the women on Tuesday. What a treat it was when many of them shared their writing. Each piece of writing was imaginative and special in its own way. And the women’s support for one another was really nice!
“It was a great session! We started with a fun warm-up that everybody participated in and enjoyed then we worked on a concept called ‘Food For Thought’. They also shared goals and encouraged each other. It was a great discussion and something that I think they can take with them and actually put into practice each day.”
These emails, written by our art team, are what I love about Heard – our clients love creating art and expressing themselves, and our art team loves working with them. We passionately believe in funding our artists (here's why) and we have seen the healing power of art with our clients.

And that is why Heard is participating in Spring2ACTion on April 28. Spring2ACTion is an online fundraiser for Alexandria nonprofits. Heard is participating for the first time this year, and we hope you will be part of the fun! Our goal to raise $5,000 to continue supporting artists, bringing creativity to those in need, and plan for our future. Several of our supporters have offered matching grants, starting on April 14, when early giving starts.

Here's how you can help:

*Be on the lookout for our newsletters on April 14, 21, and 28. Each week we will share some videos and stories of our work, and ask you to consider donating. Each week we will offer a matching grant. For example, our generous board of directors will donate $500 to Heard if your donations total 500 between April 14-20.

*Follow Heard on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @heardnova.org. We will be sharing updates and stories as we race toward our goal.

*Share our social media pages with your online friends. Let 's get everyone involved!

*Contact me if you want to know more, get more involved, or offer a matching grant.

Spring2ACTion is really lots of fun and we're really hoping you will help us help others.

Thank you!

Creative Corner - experience our clients' creations
This article contains explicit and disturbing accounts. Reader discretion is advised.

The Other Epidemic
I'm a fifth-generation addict. I'm more than a statistic.
January 3, 2021 

"I hated at 6 that I couldn’t stop the insanity that was my life...I took care of her when she was drunk or when she nodded out with a needle in her arm. I pulled it out. So when she looked at me and said 'Mommy needs a big favor' I somehow knew that my needs didn’t matter."

Why would Arlington Magazine print a story that came with a readers' advisory? Because this harrowing, true story is the first place nonfiction winner in our 2020 writing contest that we host annually with the Arlington County Detention Center and the nonprofit Offender Aid and Restoration. Arlington Magazine's editor is one our our contest judges and each year they graciously print the first-place non-fiction prize winner. This story is so disturbing that we asked Ebonie before the awards ceremony last fall if she really wanted her story read to the other inmates. And she did. I challenge you to read it. It will horrify you. And I hope also give you a peek into the life of our incarcerated population.
Our Artist Showcase
“Can the classes be longer?”

We’re used to our clients liking and even loving our classes, and one peek at our website’s “Impact” page is our proof. But this? Seriously, since we opened our doors in January, 2017 we have held a cumulative total of 551 classes, and never, until last month, have our fans asked that classes extend beyond our scheduled time (most of our classes ran for up to 90 minutes pre-pandemic, and now all of them are virtual and 60 minutes long).

Then Christopher “C.” Thomas came along. A spoken word artist and performer (just look at his site!), he joined our team late last year at the recommendation of our other poet, Wendi Kaplan. I knew zero about spoken word – the history, the impact, the power – until C. gave us a short tutorial during a virtual Heard happy hour last fall. And when Friends of Guest House (FOGH) asked for a spoken word series in February I was really curious about how it would be received.

And it was amazing. C. has this gentle, loving, presence that lasers through Zoom screens. He performed some of his own work then set the stage, so to speak, for the FOGH women to create.
When he’s not creating aspiring artists, C involves himself with Child Abuse Prevention Awareness, Black Lives Matter, Mental Health, SGL (Same Gender Loving) and the LGBTQ+ community. A life of art and social justice. Love. 
“Write a spoken word poem about bubble gum,” he asked, while explaining the difference between spoken word and poetry.

And C. encouraged and cheered.

And they wrote. And performed. And asked for him to return.

And why wouldn’t they?
This program is funded by the City of Alexandria Arts Grant Program,
and generous donors like you!
Your donation supports our artists, who foster creativity, confidence, self-worth, and life skills to adults who are underserved, unknown, and unheard by offering them artistic expression through experiential instruction and participation. We are grateful for your support. Donate online through our secure website.

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