Our Stories

PEF Response Fund in Action: Arts as a Healing Community-building Strategy

Excellent lesson! Very reflective and insightful. Empowering to all who come in contact with students. We have the healing tools to guide and inspire.PUSD Teacher

With support from PEF, more than 150 Pasadena Unified elementary and secondary teachers are participating in Creative Wellbeing: Arts, Schools, & Resilience: A School-based Healing-informed Arts Education Project. Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) have partnered to foster communities of wellness within selected public schools centering arts as a healing and community-building strategy. This model is designed to support school personnel to incorporate healing-informed arts strategies in classroom and campus activities; shifting the emphasis from the trauma to the healing.

Creative Wellbeing is a professional development program about nurturing and transforming secondary school culture regarding wellbeing and mental health (both awareness and practice.) This work constitutes a systems change effort in which healing-informed practices are integrated across content areas. To nurture wellbeing for both young people and the adults who serve them Creative Wellbeing focuses on: Increasing protective factors, expanding awareness of typical adolescent development, and highlighting the importance of relational attunement.

Teachers learn to:

  • Develop a climate of creative wellbeing for themselves and their students through healing-informed arts education.
  • Recognize the indicators of mental health challenges and resilience, and how the arts can strengthen protective factors.
  • Integrate strategies to support others and themselves
  • Engage in healthy habits for wellbeing through the arts & creative writing
  • Involve students in healing-informed arts education that promotes positive peer group connections, school bonding, enhanced self-awareness and cultural identity

I liked that this training was all about bringing out the positive in what we do and how we as teachers have control of that positivity in our classrooms and with each individual student. PUSD Teacher


Interested in donating to the Response Fund?

Or contact Angela Parris at


The Creative Wellbeing program consisted of a week-long virtual professional development program of 3, 90-minute online sessions and at-home art activities that specifically is designed for secondary teachers and staff, co-written by DMH and artists. [what is DMH?]

Sessions began in June 2020 and will continue once a month through the 2020-21 school year.

The students may have sensitive things to share, but if there is trust in the room, they will be open to share. PUSD Teacher