My Humanitarian Statement

I was born with a big humanitarian heart – a deep love for all living things: a kind soul whose purpose in this life is to serve – from growing up on a farm as a child, I naturally connected, cared for, and showed deep concern for animals. In middle school, I studied at the local zoo in the summers and thought my purpose was to help protect and take care of animals.

I made art throughout my childhood, and more heavily started making art in High School as a teen. During this time, I had a very early calling to use art to help others and had my first job facilitating Art Therapy (intuitively and naturally!) at the age of 17 working with adults with developmental challenges. I developed art curriculums for them, thinking of creative ways to use art based on their unique needs. During High School, I was asked to help the Elementary School Speech Pathologist with the children: I used art to help them with their speech. I fell in love with working with children. Around this time, my High School guidance counselor caught onto my natural interest and abilities to use art to help people and told me there was a whole career for what I was already doing as a teenager.

I went on to get my Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy and started working as a licensed therapist and registered Art Therapist in the state of California soon after I obtained my Masters. As a therapist, I have experience working mostly in homeless shelters, public schools, and non-profit clinics. My journey as a therapist has a lot to do with my love for humanitarianism, although they are very different, my favorite environment to work was in homeless shelters. I became very passionate about being a part of ending the cycle of homelessness and poverty worldwide and believe this is a big part of my life’s work.

In 2013, I traveled with a group of Art Therapists to Central America to work in a poverty with children using Art Therapy in the community to increase resilience, sense of self, and hope. 

I describe my approach as holistic, compassionate, mindful, playful, creative, grounded, and prioritizes compassionate listening. While working with her clients, I hold the deep knowing and belief that each of our minds, body, and spirit are naturally moving toward health and healing. That we are all born with an innate and inherent wholeness that can often get lost in our culture as we grow or due to traumas where help was not available at that time. l hold a heartfelt and safe space for the natural healing of her clients both as a licensed therapist and humanitarian. 

I have many goals and projects in mind for helping to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness and I am looking forward to dedicating my time to these projects in the future. I tend to enter a community and feel with my heart the needs of that community and I help in ways that I can give my skills and I try to listen and learn about what the needs truly are and the culture of that area and community. I am trying to strengthen other skills that I have other than the use of art such as Art Therapy and yoga, but also more physical skills of building, safety planning, and animal humanitarianism. 

I tend to put less energy in raising awareness and activism at this time in my life, and put more of my energy into connecting with the people and animals in need. 

Rachel Howard (Nova), MA, LMFT, ATR-BC, RYT, Kamama Mama, Humanitarian, Activist