Alia Ettienne has been facilitating programs at SKETCH Working Arts for several years and is the creator of a mental health initiative called Chill N Do Art—a program specifically tailored for Black and Indigenous women and single parent families. As part of the program, Ettienne has built Creative Coping Kits, and has launched an ongoing fundraiser to help stock, assemble, and deliver kits in the GTA. If you believe in the arts, this is a wonderfual way to support Black and Indigenous families this fall. 

Each kit will contain a Creative Coping Binder, art supplies, and crafting materials. The Creative Coping Binder in particular will have multiple activities aimed at nurturing positivity and wellness.  Some of the Creative Coping Binder contents include colouring pages for both parents and children, writing prompts, and guided activities which activates contents within the kits for families to do together. Each Creative Coping Kit will cost $25 to produce.

“As observed through mainstream media and social media coverage, the mental wellbeing of Black and Indigenous peoples are openly disregarded through police brutality and other manifestations of systemic racism. Racialized peoples often face discrimination even in spaces that are allegedly inclusive, which often results in no mental health support for these individuals. This, combined with the current economic and social conditions caused by the quarantine, can be extremely difficult and increase stress levels for individuals with limited or no mental health resources and/or no methods for coping,” explains Ettienne. All these factors combined are what inspired her to launch the Creative Coping Kits initiative.

The initial goal of raising funds to support 20 kits was surpassed in a few short days. But understanding the need in the community, Ettienne is going to keep going.  “I am encouraging allies of the community (non-Black and non-Indigenous peoples) to donate in solidarity with the Black and Indigenous communities to support the mental well-being of single, low-income parents as well as increase awareness of mental health needs of Black and Indigenous peoples,” says Ettienne. 

How can you help

This is a list of the many ways, including some non-monetary methods, to support the Creative Coping Kits program: 

  • Direct Support
    • Support one (1) family by funding the production of one (1) Creative Coping Kit for $25
    • Support three (3) families by funding the production of three (3) Creative Coping Kits for $75
    • Support five (5) families by funding the production of five (5) Creative Coping Kits for $125
    • Support ten (10) families by funding the production of ten (10)  Creative Coping Kit for $250
    • Support forty (40) families by funding the production of forty (40)  Creative Coping Kit for $1000
    • Support one hundred (100) families by funding the production of one hundred (100)  Creative Coping Kit for $2500
  • Donate items for the kits
    • Lightly used/unopened art supplies
    • Stationary items (ie. stickers, cue cards, pencil cases)
    • Reusable masks 
    • Family friendly colouring pages (original images only) 
    • Art prints that encourage positivity
  • Volunteer your time
    • Assist with building the Creative Coping Kits 
    • Deliver the Creative Coping Kits to families 

We are big believers in the power of creativity to help heal and transform individuals. Sponsoring the Creative Coping Kits project is one way to support Black and Indigenous single-parent families this fall.