By Mandy Holmes
Photo by Claudia Johnstone
Child therapist-turned-parent coach Sarah Crawford is on a mission to reduce stress and help parents learn how they can help their children grow up to become happy, confident, and empowered adults.
“My work is values-based; it’s about teaching parents how they can support their children, emotionally, as they set and maintain limits and teach lessons at the same time,” she says.
When Crawford was younger her parents weren’t able to understand or help her with specific needs, which led to her down the path of discovering how to help families function better like sports coaching helps athletes improve.
Prior to opening her own practice, Crawford gained experience as a school counselor followed by a pediatric internship at a community health center and a stint working with children and caregivers in the foster care system.
“In this role [in the foster care system], I learned all about how deeply parenting impacts child development while learning how to help parents support their children and work through all types of challenges,” she says.
Tantrums, anxiety and sibling issues are just a few topics that Crawford covers by identifying the root causes and determining solutions to help children develop and manage their behaviors. Focusing on parent empowerment strategies to deepen the parent-child relationship is important to Crawford and distinguishes her business from other resources.
“Not every strategy will work for every child, and certain children need things that others don’t. I help parents discern what their individual children might need and develop a plan based on that,” she says.
Naturally, Crawford draws inspiration from children.
“Their lightheartedness, innocence and playfulness remind me that there is so much fun, beauty, and joy available in the present moment,” she says.
Crawford juggles her private therapy practice, consultations, and teaching in the community. October marks her latest endeavor; a group coaching program to make information and solutions about the problems she sees most more accessible.
To learn more, visit www.sarahcrawfordphd.com.
By Mandy Holmes
Photo by Claudia Johnstone
Luis Miguel Avila’s striking paintings are his way of connecting with the outside world. His work features contemporary and urban abstract elements as well as spontaneous colors and textures. The surreal designs, which range from brightly colored recognizable objects to well-appointed and intricate shapes, have garnered him passionate fans that can often find him exhibiting at First Friday Art Walks downtown.
Avila uses a palette knife and his intuitive pesona to tap into his subconscious mind.
“I love the feeling of being able to express thought, emotion and feeling using these tools,” he says.
His artwork first started out as doodles on a sketch pad during school, which often ended with a visit to the principal’s office and a call home to his equally loving and strict mother.
“In a heartbeat I was grounded and put in a corner that felt like an eternity and I would find myself doodling and sketching on anything I could find,” Avila says.
As an adult, he still turns his negative experiences into positive ones by using them to create highly desired works of art. His emotions and life experiences – along with artists like Salvador Dali, Voka, and Peter Terrain – inspire his paintings. The message of each painting emerges only when the work of art is complete, making each piece unique and unrepeatable.
“Seeing people’s reaction and listening to their positive feedback as well as knowing that I planted a sense of joy, peace, and personal connectivity through my artwork is my favorite part of what I do,” he says.
The artist advises people looking at his work, and anyone else’s, to connect with the piece on a personal level.
“Don’t judge a painting. Analyze it and let it take you to another dimension. What you envision others won’t, and that’s the beauty of my abstract world.”
Avila has additional exhibitions on the horizon, which he hopes leads to the production of art prints, stickers, and clothing featuring his work.