Grant #412

Breadfruit House Dominica

August 17, 2020

Making Art Helps People Process Trauma, Especially True For Kids

What a time to be alive! It’s hard — if not impossible — to protect children from traumatic events. Adults have to cope with their own losses and fears as they try to help their children process changing circumstances.

Marieke van Asten saw the effects of unavoidable trauma three years ago after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island of Dominica. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, UNICEF set up spaces to keep children safe and offer them ways to express themselves. She saw how helpful it was for the children to put their feelings into their artistic creations with the materials and encouragement provided for them.

Marieke thought this ought to become a permanent opportunity for the children.

So she created The Breadfruit House Foundation, and she lined up donations of toys, books, arts and crafts materials; all the things the kids need. The catch: all that good stuff is sitting in the Netherlands, waiting to be shipped. Anyone who knows about island life knows that everything has to be imported, which makes everything jaw-droppingly expensive. So this Awesome Without Borders grant will literally pay to get goods across borders.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to help, or just want to know more, check out

You probably know some kids who could use some fresh art supplies right in your own neighborhood, don’t you? And don’t overlook the therapeutic benefits of doing a little bit of art yourself, from coloring books to Bob Ross canvases. It’s an awesome way to get through these days/weeks/months.

Category: Art, Children, Community



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders