ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - For one mother, the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation became a personal battle as she worked to help her own daughter through recovery. During that difficult time, she turned to art, and the creative outlet is now one she is sharing with other young addicts.
"If you want to make a teenager recover you've got to make recovery more exciting than addiction," said Kathie Thomas, the founder of Hope Creates.
It's a program for teens and young adults with one-year sobriety. They create their own original artwork, receive coaching and then get to display their work during local art shows.
"During some of the really darker days trying to find help for our daughter, I just turned to art and it really gave me a sense of control I could turn beauty out of tragedy," explained Thomas.
Morgan McQueery is one of the teens using art to work through her own inner demons.
"It's definitely still a battle, definitely still growing, definitely don't have this down, even people with thirty years don't have it down, but I'm happier than I was,"' said McQueery, 18.
She's discovered photography and painting help her connect. She recently showed her work at the Hope Creates art show at ZACK.
For Nick Mills, it's poetry.
"It's very hard to accept yourself after everything we go through," said Mills. "When you come into this community and can really just be yourself let go of everything and just make art and be creative, it is really freeing and empowering.
Thomas says she knows there are many steps towards recovery, but through this program, she hopes she can help not only teens and young adult but also their families.
"It's a place where kids can come feel really accomplished, their parents can come and feel proud," said Thomas.
The organization was founded in April of this year after they won Washington University's Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition for the Youth Division. For more information on the program, visit their website.
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