Helping Chronically Ill Kids Thrive Through Art Lessons: Jasmin’s Story
Meet CoachArt Program Manager Jasmin Iraheta
Jasmin Iraheta lives in Los Angeles and works as a CoachArt Program Manager responsible for onboarding and one-on-one matching for art lessons and athletics lessons between CoachArt kids and volunteer coaches. Her commitment to serving CoachArt kids was inspired by a cousin who had cerebral palsy; he wanted to dance but did not have the support or guidance that would have helped him do so.
Jasmin has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she’s a bilingual English and Spanish speaker. Previously she worked at the Bresee Foundation, Chapter Two Inc., and Homies Unidos. She’s an artist with the Comfort/Disturb Healing Cooperative.
CoachArt: How did your creative passions develop?
Jasmin: One of my older sisters introduced me to poetry, theater, and dance when I was six or seven, and helped me see how important they are to upliftment of the soul. She became a teacher and I think she was kind of testing her lesson plans on me. Now I draw and paint images of women and cultural empowerment, and I have exhibited my art in LA, San Francisco, and Mexico City. I’ve also started exploring abstract painting. I write poetry too, mostly on themes of happiness or heartbreak. And I’m an actress.
CoachArt: Did you coach art lessons or mentor young artists prior to joining CoachArt?
Jasmin: Yes. I used to do gang intervention and prevention for kids ages 10 to 18, and part of our work was to get them to speak to us to find out what services they needed. And I realized that if I tapped into their artistic passion I could get them to open up to me. If they were into painting, then we painted together while they talked to me about school or home life. If they were into music, we’d listen to a song and then write a poem about it. If they felt stiff, we would dance to one of their favorite songs. And if they wanted to continue developing their art, I plugged them into further programs. It’s been beautiful to see them flourishing.
CoachArt: Tell me about your experience with CoachArt.
Jasmin: So many families and coaches have expressed gratitude like I’ve never heard before. One of the kids we serve has hip cancer and is getting two hip replacements. He wanted photography lessons, so I recruited a photographer friend to join CoachArt and coach him. CoachArt bought the boy a camera for his lessons. His mom just bawled to me about how thankful she was for this program. We provide art lessons for her other two kids as well, and she sees CoachArt as part of the family, and as a lifeline. It’s a tribute to CoachArt that we have both the passion and the organization to make this happen.
CoachArt: What are your plans for the future?
Jasmin: I want to go to grad school to become an art therapist. I would love to open up a healing space that combines massage therapy with art therapy. I’m a certified massage therapist, and I know some other massage therapists and art therapists who are willing to come together to create this space. This is part of my “MP3 Plan,” which includes pursuing massage, my poetry, my painting, and a theatrical play I’m working on. That’s what I envision for myself in the next 10 years!
We’re thankful to have Jasmin on our dedicated and talented Programs Team!
COACHART FACEBOOK LIVE TUTORIALS: Write a Free Verse Poem with Coach Jasmin
When CoachArt started offering lessons online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jasmin led a special Facebook Live where kids learned how to create their own free verse poetry. You can watch the full lesson below! Get info about CoachArt’s upcoming Facebook Live Art Lessons, and learn more about CoachArt’s virtual programming for kids and teens impacted by chronic illness, here.
CLICK HERE TO FIND MORE FACEBOOK LIVE ART LESSONS FOR KIDS!
MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR FAMILIES IMPACTED BY CHILDHOOD CHRONIC ILLNESS
Since 2001, CoachArt has matched volunteer coaches with kids and teens impacted by chronic illness for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. Our vision is that one day every family impacted by childhood chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CoachArt is providing virtual (online) lessons for all group activities and 1-1 lessons. Learn more about CoachArt’s virtual programming for kids and teens impacted by chronic illness.
CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18 in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and newly in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New York City, and Portland. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form or get in touch to learn if CoachArt is right for your child.
WAYS TO HELP
Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you’d like to share virtually with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.
Learn how you can get involved with CoachArt to help create a better world for kids impacted by chronic illness.