Universal Children's Day
Childhood Trauma
CANY's Work
The Learning Collaborative
Using Drama Therapy with Adolescents
November Conferences
Rebuilding After Sandy
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CANY Celebrates November 20th as  
Universal Children's Day
"We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind."  
 - We the Children: End-decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children Report of the Secretary-General (2001)   

   (Click Here to learn more about
Universal Children's Day!)
Childhood Trauma in America

Across the United States 60% of children have been exposed to violence, crime or abuse, and 40% have reported being a direct victim of violence.*    


Children who have been affected by trauma are more likely to develop life-long psychiatric conditions, and are 3-times as likely to dropout of school or face expulsion than their peers.**    

I am a piano

Hidden in the basement.

They set me in a corner all by myself

There is even a wall separating me from everything else

I am a wonderful thing that is being neglected.


- CANY Youth Participant

What CANY Does
68% of CANY's work in NYC and Connecticut is with children and youth affected by trauma.  For these children, traditional talk therapy may be limiting, as articulating feelings can be difficult, especially in the aftermath of trauma.   


Through CANY's use of creativity and metaphor,  youth explore their emotional landscapes within the safety of dramatic fiction.  Using therapeutic drama, children can experience new roles, transform old roles, and create stories that foster a realization of new life possibilities.   

We are all the colors of the rainbow

We are the sky, the water, the earth

We are a meteor, an avalanche, a gentle breeze

We are a crystal clear puddle

We are a night time sky filled with stars

We are lions

We are whales

We are a flock of birds

We are gorillas who take care of each other

We are a bunch of fireflies that light up the night sky

We are the moon, ever changing

We are time, only moving forward and never moving back

We are a stampede that cannot be stopped


-CANY Group Poem 

95% of CANY's youth population comes from economically disadvantaged communities. In this past fiscal year, CANY directly treated over 500 children and youth, helping them to experience increased self-esteem and enabling them to envision new opportunities for their future.      


In a recent study, children treated through the CANY model of drama therapy reported an overall 25% statistically significant reduction in negative symptoms (including intrusive thoughts and emotions). 


In just three months, 11 out of 13 negative symptoms (such as excessive crying and feelings of negative self-confidence) decreased in incidence, with some symptoms reducing as much as 50% or more.  


For more information on CANY's work with youth, visit us at 


 *Office of Justice Programs. (2009, October). "Children's Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey."
** Justice Policy Institute. (2010, July). "Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense." 

Evaluating the 'Learning Collaborative'
Along with direct service programs, CANY amplifies its impact by running a curriculum of one-day trainings in the CANY model of drama therapy,
In addition, in 2011, thanks to a grant from The Tow Foundation, CANY launched the Learning Collaborative, a training program for clinicians who work in extended day treatment programs for children with trauma histories.  Along with training clinician staff from four agencies, CANY hired an external consultant to evaluate the outcomes of this pilot program.

The Learning Collaborative was assessed on three components:         
         Trainees' knowledge of therapeutic drama techniques/principles;

         sense of preparedness to implement therapeutic drama; 

         and overall satisfaction with the training

The results from this study were as follows:
   -    In measuring trainee knowledge, test results showed a mastery of
         CANY model concepts, with an average score of almost 90% on
         every quiz! 
   -    For measuring participant preparedness at the conclusion of the
         Learning Collaborative,
trainees reported an average score of 3 out
         of 4 for nine elements indicating high self-confidence in
         implementing the model.
   -    Regarding trainee satisfaction, participants anonymously reported
         an average score of 4.5 out of 5 (with 5 representing high
         satisfaction) after every training session.  

CANY is happy to report these results, and looks forward to developing the Learning Collaborative even further in Year Two of the program.

For more information on this research and CANY's Learning Collaborative please contact us at!  
Enhance Your Effectiveness
DTwithAWhen Working with Adolescents!

CANY drama therapy training workshop

There's still time to register for our full-day training:
Using Drama Therapy with Adolescents
 Saturday, December 1, 2012
10:00am - 5:00pm

Listen to what past participants have to say about their experience with CANY. 

Or, call CANY at 212.222.1969 and speak to our trainers, Heidi Landis,
RDT-BCT, LCAT and Meredith Dean, RDT, LCAT, CASAC-T.
November Drama Therapy Conferences
This November was a busy month for CANY staff who attended and presented at two conferences: 

The North American Drama Therapy Association's  (NADTA) National Conference; and
-  The Expressive Arts Therapy Summit

At both conferences Heidi Landis (CANY Program Director) and Lucy McLellan (CANY Training Director) presented a workshop entitled "Playing the Unspeakable: Drama Therapy and Complex Trauma."  


At the Expressive Arts Therapy Summit, Heidi was invited to sit on a panel of regarded Creative Arts Therapists to speak about the CANY drama therapy program she leads with clients on the autism spectrum.  

At NADTA, Meredith Dean (CANY Program Manager) was selected to present, "Word Play: The use of poetry in trauma informed drama therapy," and Britton Williams (CANY Program Assistant) performed in an original theatre piece called "Race as Performance."   


It was wonderful to have CANY so prominently represented at these conferences, and we are already looking forward to next year!

Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy
New Yorkers recently showed resolve, resiliency and community spirit after devastation from super-storm Sandy.   
The ability to move past trauma and rebuild lives is at the heart of what CANY does with hundreds of children and adults each year.

We at CANY offer our sympathy to all those affected by Sandy.

We also celebrate stories of resilience, community-building and creative responses to this crisis that have emerged during this time of struggle.