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Kids Oneida showcases new art therapy program: Photovoice

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - People filled the Stanley Center for the Arts Thursday night, not for a performance but for a fundraiser to benefit programs for local at risk kids. The event called Photovoice showcased Kids Oneida's new art therapy program where kids tell their own stories through photos.

Esteban Ramos showcased photo was of graffiti on a building. "Because when I was younger I used to do graffiti a lot on buildings and one day I just got caught and I stopped, and I just wanted to show periods of my life when I was younger."

Ramos is one of eight kids that completed the program, taking pictures of his life and then sharing stories off of the pictures with clinical staff.

In the end, creating art and therapy in a unique way.

"For example a child that is typically going to a traditional clinic, they're sitting down with a therapist once every week, they're sitting down with a psychiatrist maybe once every month they not be able to get to the same level of treatment that they would through some sort of expression such as with Photovoice," said Steven Bulger, Director of Operations for Kids Oneida.

With the program's success, Kids Oneida hopes to expand it and provide even more therapeutic art groups for kids.

"We're going to be moving in the next couple of weeks hopefully with a partnership with Munson Williams to be able to offer this program to more children than just the ones that were able to complete it today and reach a lot more children," said Bulger.

Giving kids their own outlet or chance to show they've changed.

"I'm trying to change my life," said Ramos. "I want to go to college to be an ocean biologist and I just don't want that trouble...I just wanted to show people what I used to be and what I am now."

A documentary showing the students photos and stories was shown at the event as well as a Silent Art Auction to benefit Kids Oneida.

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