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Second Lady Karen Pence, joined by First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, participated in an art session with children impacted by Hurricane Maria. The art session was held at the FEMA Interim Operations Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and led by art therapist, Dr. Maricel Ocasio Figueroa.

During the visit, Mrs. Pence gave 100 pounds of clay to Dr. Figueroa for her to use with children traumatized by the hurricane’s devastation. Mrs. Pence learned that the therapist wanted to use clay with the children at the shelters but could not afford to purchase the material. The Second Lady immediately decided to help. Clay is a good art material for addressing trauma because it becomes an effective medium for containment and allows movement, manipulation, and the ability to work through strong emotions like aggression.

Also, while in Puerto Rico, the Second Lady joined the Vice President for participation in a prayer service at Iglesia Santa Bernadita where Mrs. Pence led one of the prayers.

“The people of Puerto Rico remain in our thoughts and prayers,” said Mrs. Pence. “The strength of the Puerto Rican community is greater when we wrap our arms around our brothers and sisters; pull them up; and offer our support and encouragement when they need it the most. It is always a great joy to help others, especially our youth.”

To stay updated on Mrs. Pence’s events, follow her on Twitter at, @SecondLady.

Photos of the visit are attached. Photo credit: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen

About Art Therapy

Second Lady Karen Pence chose one initiative to champion, and it is art therapy. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art therapy is facilitated by professional art therapists who are experts in human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.