EPISODE 34 | September 13th, 2019

Healing through Unity, One Step at a Time

Guest:  Paige Walden-Johnson, Founder and Executive Director, CommUNITY Arts STL

When her friend, Rain, a dancer, was struck by eight bullets in her upper torso, giving her a five-percent chance to live that first night, Paige Walden-Johnson knew she had to take a stance. Paige understood that Rain’s healing would demand rigorous, excruciating grit. As a woman who has struggled with her own anxieties, Paige also intuited that the violence against her friend rippled farther than her immediate circle of family and friends. It pierced the community. And it begged the question, why was the violence in St. Louis proliferating?

As a way to understand what factors contribute to people using violence as a means to an end, Paige started CommUNITY Arts STL. The non-profit’s technique uses the arts – dance in particular – to guide children and adults who have suffered traumatic events or live in crime-infested areas to discover their own dance movements that express their pain and create their own voice for healing. Hear how Paige’s brainchild inspires communication, education, and healing to help people go deeper than words, as she and Executive Director Tom Duff, LCSW, MSW discuss in this week’s episode of Mental Health Matters how the arts can heal – one step at a time.