The Big Red Barn Retreat (BRBR) was awarded $9,000 from Aflac’s Charitable Fund Competitive Grant.

The grant will fund the BRBR’s Healing Arts Program which includes music and art group therapy. The art therapy will be facilitated by Mary Howe, MA, ATR-BC with Full Circles Programs and the music group therapy will be facilitated by Laura Theisman MT-BC of Key Changes Therapy.

The BRBR provides alternative therapeutic services, such as art and music therapy, to veterans and first responders who are struggling emotionally. It is the intersection of trauma and the creative process that provides participants the opportunity to express past traumas and eventually learn and grow through and beyond their traumatic experiences

“Music has always been one of my passions and it was one of those passions that I lost when I started going through everything,” said Robert Stevens, a first responder.

During his time at the Big Red Barn Retreat, Stevens was able to reignite his passion for music while also learning how to disclose and let go of his past traumatic experiences.

The art and music therapy programs will be hosted at the Big Red Barn Retreat. Each group therapy session will have six to eight participants and will meet for eight to 10 weeks. Each session is about two hours long.

The Big Red Barn Retreat is a 501c(3) nonprofit located in Blythewood. Its mission is to provide a haven for healing to those most in need of it. This includes veterans, active-duty service members, first responders and their families. It offers several therapeutic services at no cost and is one of only nine locations nationwide to offer the Warrior PATHH program, also at no cost. For more information on The Big Red Barn Retreat, visit or email [email protected].

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