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When I first entered UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and walked the children’s ward, I was immediately humbled by the experience of seeing so many children battling illness. Being blessed with two healthy children of my own, it was a surreal experience to say the least. As hard as it was to witness something other families struggle with, and that being foreign to me, I was struck by the amount of love and care they received. After the visit to the ward, I toured the Arts and Music Therapy facilities, and could not believe the profound effect it was having on the healing process. It was then the idea was born to help fund these programs, by forming a Non Profit, “Little Tribe Children’s Foundation”, specifically for that purpose. Living in Sebastopol, and being part of a community in Sonoma County that not only loves its children, but strongly supports the Arts as well, seemed like the perfect fit in terms of a way to make a difference.

Among today’s many kinds of therapy for healing the hearts, minds and bodies of young people, music and art programs have proven especially successful. Participatory art therapies can open new worlds for children struggling with serious illness. Immersion in expressive art moves a child into the creative side of the brain where they can turn away from their troubles for a time. They are better able to cope with the stresses of dealing with illness. The life-affirming pleasure of making art and music gives them the courage to hope and heal.

The goals of art and music therapy include encouraging children to express their feelings and thoughts about their conditions and the traumas that may be part of their treatments. Children are helped with body image and gaining feelings of control when they become part of an interactive group of other children and expressive art therapists. They learn techniques to control their fears and pain and to adapt to temporary or permanent physical limitations.

We at Little Tribe have seen this first hand and feel called to support creative projects for kids within our community. Little Tribe is based in Northern California, which is home to a lively and diverse art and music culture. Our course is to research, support and expand programs with art and music as central components of the healing process, and to call upon local artists to contribute their time, resources and genius to helping these kids. Funding for these programs exit via private donation only, and enjoy state or federal monies. We exist to bridge that gap and fund these very valuable programs.

We are a state exempt and certified 501c3 Non Profit. We run a very lean organization, with a full volunteer army. Our cost of operations is very low by design, so that 90 cents of every dollar we raise can go to kids in need.

Come join the Tribe, and put your heart to work!

Joey D’Amico
Founding member and CEO