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Veteran organization using creative therapies for healing

The Baltimore Station.jpg
Posted at 11:15 AM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 18:21:40-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — An organization in Baltimore is making a huge difference in the lives of veterans using creative therapies.

“They get you acclimated with doing things that will help you transition into everyday life after the program,” said Army veteran Clement Howell.

He first found The Baltimore Station earlier this year. The nonprofit is a residential and community program for homeless veterans recovering from substance abuse and mental health challenges.

“I’ve had some losses in my life and it’s really helped me deal with it,” said Army veteran Larry Mclellan.

They both enjoy the weekly classes put on my local creatives, from drumming to art, drama and storytelling.

“It’s a space where we tell our stories and we empower our participants to share their truth,” said Dr. David Fakunle, CEO of DiscoverME/RecoverME.

He and his mother, Dr. Mama Deborah Pierce-Fakunle, visit The Baltimore Station twice a week, leading participants through storytelling workshops and creating a space for open conversation.

“A lot of times I sing to them and one man was crying as I was singing one time,” said Pierce-Fakunle.

“We continue to the see the damage that causes when people aren’t able to share their story. So if creating a space for that is all you need to do to improve emotional health, mental health, understanding a life perspective on the world then why not do that?” said Fakunle.

Deputy Director Kim Callari said the goal of the classes is to introduce the men to activities to replace negative behaviors like drinking and drug use.

“You give them a pencil or a paint brush or a drum and it’s incredible what happens from that. We’ve seen men emerge as leaders in the group. We’ve seen them go on to take additional art classes,” said Callari.

Because of COVID-19, the therapies and counseling had to be done virtually for a while, but they are back in-person now. It’s furthering the impact they are able to have on their participants.

“Something about being a solider, you feel like you should be the one doing the assisting and the one that’s doing the helping and carrying others on your shoulders, so when you get into a position in life where it’s difficult for you, it’s hard to ask someone else for help. But when you have a squad of soldiers here with you, it’s easier to ask someone for help that’s in the same line that you’re in,” said Howell.