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Alumna Nicole Willcox Provides Art Therapy to Newtown Shooting Community

December 19, 2013

For Nicole Willcox, who graduated from The College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Master’s in Art Therapy Program in 2008, providing therapy to those who really need it is not just a job, it’s her life’s passion. The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 was one of our country’s darkest times, but Willcox has taken initiative to provide care to the members of the Newtown community who were most gravely affected by the shooting.

Willcox currently runs an art therapy practice called Emerald Sketch, which is based in Brooklyn, New York. When she was called upon to bring services to the victims’ families, neighbors and friends, Willcox began traveling to Newtown multiple times per week, and has continued to do so ever since. Emerald Sketch now rents space in Newtown in the newly constructed Resiliency Center, a nonprofit that provides long-term healing services to anyone impacted by the shooting via two art therapists, a music therapist, a play therapist, and a social worker.

Emerald Sketch has served as a direct resource to more than 200 affected children and adults so far. Willcox established several different types of art therapy projects in the wake of the tragedy, one of which is entitled “Safe Places.” In this project, children draw what they remember from the day of the shooting. From these sketches, Willcox analyzes the most stressful and fearful memories, and then tries to re-shape the narratives to help children better cope with the trauma.

Willcox is now focusing on getting the community through the one year anniversary of the tragedy. Willcox hopes to continue providing aid and therapy to the Newtown community though Emerald Sketch and community outreach.