Lauren Young Finds Community with The Art Therapy Project

March 22, 2024

Lauren Young, Senior Director, Index Governance, is a 2023 Community Service Award recipient for her work with The Art Therapy Project.

Finding Community

Like many, the Covid-19 pandemic spurred Lauren Young to search for new ways to connect with her community. As she reflected on her own passions, Lauren decided to pursue nonprofit board service.

Lauren turned to Board Lead, a service that links professionals with organizations looking for high caliber board members and discovered The Art Therapy Project (TATP). TATP is a New York-based nonprofit organization that provides group art therapy in safe and inclusive spaces for people in need of mental health services. The organization's work aligned with Lauren's interests in psychology and mental health advocacy and love of art, so she joined the organization’s board in 2021.

Therapy First

For people who have experienced traumatic events, group art therapy can be a more effective tool to process their feelings and share experiences than using words.

“It’s about the therapy and artmaking process first, rather than the final product,” Lauren says. “The art helps tell the story.”

For more than 12 years, TATP has partnered with established organizations across New York to meet its clients in different communities with shared common experiences—such as veterans, shelters and anti-violence organizations—and create a sense of community and belonging.

“Connecting with others and exploring their journeys together helps clients understand they’re not alone," Lauren says. "Art therapy can reduce the shame and stigma attached to mental health disorders.”

Plus, TATP never sets an end date. Some clients stay for a few months, while others continue to reap the benefits of group art therapy for years.

Leading in the Space

TATP is the only nonprofit offering group art therapy programming in New York City, making it uniquely positioned to advocate for this growing mental health service. TATP serves as a thought leader, raising awareness and elevating the visibility of art therapy as an effective tool for trauma survivors.

With increasing demand for more programs, funding is the only limitation.

“Cboe’s donation will make a huge impact,” Lauren says. “Funding six months of group art therapy, it allows TATP to continue to grow and achieve its vision.”

Get Involved in Your Community

For Lauren, joining the TATP board unlocked a new community of passionate and mission-driven professionals. Board members come from diverse backgrounds and lend their time, skillsets and networks, all with a shared sense of purpose to advance the organization.

While fundraising is a large part of board service, board members also support the organization by evaluating TATP's operations, developing governance, refining strategy and analyzing finances.

Lauren understands that many people want to do more in their community but are unable to devote long hours. Her solution? Give back in bite-size ways.

“You can support a meaningful cause in big or small ways,” Lauren says. “Serve on a committee, volunteer at an event or offer your skills toward a project. You won't regret it.”