Mission & Impact

A Free Bird’s mission is to uplift children battling cancer and other chronic illnesses through the therapeutic arts.

More than 10,000 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. We believe that access to arts education can help children in their battle against this pervasive disease, in which diagnoses are only increasing year over year.

At A Free Bird, we see firsthand every day how impactful creative expression can be during the hardest time in a child’s life. The arts help them process complex emotions, find joy, and express things they can’t always say in words.  

Therapeutic arts have also been found to have numerous benefits to physical and mental health:

  • In an examination of multiple studies, researchers found that creative arts therapies significantly reduced anxiety, depression, and pain in cancer patients, and improved their overall quality of life. (JAMA Internal Medicine, May 2013)

  • Other studies have shown artistic interventions to improve clinical outcomes, reduce hospital stays, reduce pain and improve moods in patients contending with chronic diseases. (American Journal of Public Health, February 2010)

Beyond the health benefits, arts education gives children something to look forward to during long days at the hospital, as well as a sense of personal accomplishment, a passion they can share with others, and an enduring love for the arts.  

“After I got better, A Free Bird was a big part of my life. I’ve been able to do a lot of things, have new opportunities, and expand my love of art. And they just push me to do more great things.”

Ryan Reyes, 16
Street artist, Graduate of all three programs