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The Porch Light Initiative: In the Participants’ Own Words

November 1, 2012

The Porch Light Initiative is a division of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program that partners with behavioral health agencies in three specific area codes in Philadelphia. 11th Street Family Health Services was invited to be a Porch Light partner for the Initiative’s third year. Starting on October 1, a group of 11th Street patients have participated in weekly workshops with lead artist Ben Volta. These weekly sessions are closed to the public, though Mural Arts welcomes all community members to join in the artmaking process during monthly Open Studios. The next Open Studio days will occur on January 4 and 25 from 3-4:30 p.m. at 11th Street.

Here is what several of the Porch Light participants from 11th Street have to say about their experience so far:

“Being a part of Porch Light has helped me take care of me better. It helps me relax and puts me in control.” – Sherman J.

“Porch Light has been very good to me because it adds happiness in my life, and stability, contentment, respect and control. What more can I ask for from my God. In my life and yours forever.” - Joe

“Porch Light is helping me get back to enjoying art. Structured art classes took that away from me…somewhat.” - Yolanda

“It was a great recommendation by the staff. It’s helping me learn to interact with people, which had become a problem. It helps me focus my mind and try to find normalcy in my life. Thanks.” - Norman

“This is my first visit. I’m so impressed. I love to try to draw. I love to create. I love this class. It has already taken me back to my childhood. My inner child can come out to play. Thank you.” – L.P.W

“I joined Porch Light because my therapist recommended me, and I am happy that she did because I now have some place to go. It is a good program for me, even though a lot of people make me nervous.” – S.C.

“Porch Light in N. Philadelphia has helped me to focus on the positives in this community. Combining thoughts of nature, home and health for the treatment of our bodies, and then to express these thoughts with art, is enlightening.” – Maxine Robinson

“Porch Light is the best class ever. I say that because I always thought I could not draw, but since I’ve been coming to Porch Light, I’ve learned that art is not all about knowing how to draw. I met a lot of nice people. Plus it is a stress reliever. I want to say thank you to the people of Porch Light for having me.” – Dionne Ackridge

“The workshop helps me to appreciate art. Even though I can’t draw, I like learning new things. The tracing activity came together very good.” J.M.

“Porch Light makes me feel good about my neighborhood and I’m excited about the entire city being able to notice my neighborhood in a positive light with the new murals. . .” – Bridgette

“I like the people here and it gets me out of the house” - anonymous