BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– With the stroke of a paint brush, local creative studio, Board and Brush is hoping trauma victims can create more than just art to be hung on the wall, but a path to healing.

For the past two years, the business has partnered with the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center to offer craft classes to area sexual assault, domestic violence and other trauma survivors, free of charge.

“This a great way to bring joy and peace and maybe even hope to these young people,” said co-owner, Courtney Dickerson.

The Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center serves trauma clients of all ages, but they see as many as 200 children a week. In addition to traditional talk therapy, the art therapy provides survivors with another outlet, said volunteer coordinator, Shannon Rodriguez.

“It gets them outside of the traditional single therapy, and it gets them into a group setting to where they feel as though they are not alone,” explain Rodriguez. 

Those involved in the class we able to stain a piece of wood and use a stencil to paint an original design.

For one area domestic violence survivor, the classes have helped her and her children heal. For her protection, we are not naming her in this article.

“It’s just quiet and peaceful and happy. Everybody is kind, there is no judgment,” she said.

She hopes that other women in abuse situations will understand there is a support network available to help them.

“It’s okay to tell, it’s okay,” she said.

Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center also offers equine therapy. To learn more about their services click here.