By Ariel Rothenberg Ariel Rothenberg

When I was 10 years old, Dr. Lori Wilson at Jewish Family & Career Services gave me a full psychoeducational assessment. Dr. Wilson turned what could have been a cold, clinical experience into a warm and rewarding one by taking the time during my evaluation to get to know me as a daughter, sister, friend and student.

I was concerned about receiving a learning disability label, as are many children and parents. For some children, that label can make the path to success much more strenuous.

I, however, was determined not to let a label obstruct my education and career goals, and Dr. Wilson made it easy for me to discuss my worries with her. The support I received from Dr. Wilson and JF&CS supplied me with many new tools to help me throughout my education.

After the evaluation, Dr. Wilson introduced me to new resources that would help me in school. I was able to take advantage of a wonderful JF&CS resource: an art therapy class, where I expressed my passion for art to help relieve my school-related stress.

As my mother always said, “It takes a village,” and my JF&CS experience confirmed her belief in the value of community.

This year, while applying to graduate school, I have enjoyed the opportunity to give back to that community as a volunteer coordinator for a special JF&CS event: Artscape.

Artscape provides families, particularly children, the opportunity for to get hands-on experiences with the arts — visual, musical and physical (dance) — and to give back to the community while having tremendous fun.

The event benefits the Counseling Services — Tools for Life division at JF&CS, enabling individuals and families to better tackle life’s challenges. Artscape therefore fits perfectly with my career objective to be a mental health practitioner and my passion for art.

My job for Artscape this year is to recruit volunteers, and I am excited to see all my fellow volunteers come together with the community to celebrate art, give back and support JF&CS.

About Artscape

Artscape is a total family fun day featuring such activities as puppeteering with the Center for Puppetry Arts, performing with the Alliance Theatre, training with Life Martial Arts, joining the drum circle with La Dee Da Studio and dancing at nightclub Zumba.

Where: Sensations Therafun, 1704 Chantilly Drive, Atlanta

When: Sunday, Feb. 8, 3:30 p.m. (patron families can enter at 2:30)

Tickets: $50 per family in advance, $65 at the door, $136 for patron family; www.ArtscapeATL.org or yourtoolsforliving.org/calendar/events/artscape/artscape-tickets