Lost Voices Helps Kids Find Hope & Healing Through Music
(MICHIGAN) - Lost Voices are a group of professional folk and blues musicians who, since 2007, have been helping kids who have experienced major emotional trauma find hope and healing through music.
Many of these young men and women are victims of human trafficking, and struggle to find a healthy place for themselves in the world. In every Lost Voices program, they create a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere where troubled kids can reach into their deepest feelings and ideas, then express them in original songs. Over the years these programs have touched the lives of more than 2,500 young people and produced dramatic therapeutic breakthroughs.

Lost Voices helps kids who are victims of trauma find hope and healing through the power of music. Their Vision is for a world where all kids feel valued, recognize their self-worth, and grow up confident, caring and connected. They believe all kids deserve the opportunity to change their behaviors and lives. They value musicians as professionals who can transform young lives. They promote hope, diversity, creativity, nurturing, and healing.

Lost Voices says, “Our songwriting and performing workshops are specifically designed for residential treatment facilities where adolescent victims of severe emotional trauma are receiving therapy. In our program we create a safe expressive environment where therapeutic breakthroughs happen, planting seeds of hope and healing that can forever transform young lives that have been damaged by years of abuse and neglect.
The typical program consists of an introductory concert followed by five days of songwriting workshops. These workshops are facilitated by teams of three professional musicians who are specifically trained to help the kids articulate their feelings into song lyrics without any sort of judgement. The musicians then craft folk and blues songs around the lyrics written by the kids.
We usually start the workshop by writing a group song. To do this, we brainstorm until we get input from every participant and agree on a topic, then we write a song, line-by-line.
We also write individual songs with each participant. This is where the kids dig deep into their feelings and express thoughts and ideas that they may not be willing to share otherwise – sometimes even with their therapists. These songs can range from searingly heartfelt to silly; we let the kids go wherever they feel like going with them.
The use of roots music (folk and blues) is critical to our process. The relative unfamiliarity of the genre, along with it’s non-threatening storytelling nature, takes the participants out of their normal routine and into an entirely new and deeply introspective creative space.
We work 8-12 youth in each group. If there are more than twelve in a group it is difficult to make sure every participant is heard and feels totally invested in the process. Much fewer than eight participants makes the sessions too quiet, lacking the creative conflict and tension that helps bring about the emotional breakthroughs.
At the end of the workshops, the musicians put together a professionally-staged concert in which the kids can perform their newly-created songs for peers, therapists, staff, and family. The professional musicians are right there with them behind the microphones, backing them up and supporting every performance to whatever degree is necessary for the participants to succeed.
Throughout the program the participants experience profound breakthroughs that the therapists in the facilities can then use to promote healing. The Lost Voices experience “opens them up’ to healing.
An important element of the Lost Voices programs is that they affect far more than the youth directly in the program. Peers witnessing the final performance often experience valuable breakthroughs of their own. We’ve had instances in which as many as four kids “in the audience” were so moved by what they were seeing and hearing from the participants on stage that they experienced emotional “meltdowns,” leading to significant therapeutic breakthroughs.
In addition therapists and staff often gain new insights into the kids they have been working with that help them explore new therapeutic pathways. Parents and siblings gain valuable new insights. New relationships bloom, and old animosities disappear.
And seeds of hope and healing begin to grow."
Lost Voices is a Michigan 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.

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