What Yael Lichaa's family experienced and what Ukrainians are going through is tough. Her story of escape and rising to purpose has created a way for families today that brings healing, and joy.
Three weeks into the war waged on Ukraine by Russia with the world freshly struck by shock, Ukrainian Yael Lichaa chose to paint flags of both countries on her cheeks, then placed a symbol of peace between them on her forehead. She wore a dress with the map of the world and donned an authentic weaving she brought from their family kitchen in Ukraine as a headdress.
Lichaa's explicit costume invoked a conversation with a lifetime news journalist Ari L Noonan, currently with the Jewish Journal, of Los Angeles California.
As Noonan investigated he found Lichaa was present at events from the history
books in schools, and her hard-to-believe personal stories ripe for a book.
Her family was displaced from Kyiv, Ukraine after the Chornobyl nuclear plant accident, as Ukraine broke away from the USSR, but there is much more. Lichaa quickly told Noonan stories of escape and transformation,
"I learned valuable lessons. Instead of trying to convince people of a point of view or fighting, just appreciate other people's uniqueness. This way you will become enriched."
Lichaa recommends things you can do to make a difference in the world and war right now, right here:
1) "To not hate is a growth process. We can all be stubborn and want things our way." Yael Lichaa
"Hmm, I'm fine," you might think. Yet the qualm in our stomachs of war on the news, or when it affects - our car, our school, our spiritual center, our politics - can cause tensions that lead to hateful ideations. Notice your next thoughts. It might be that "It's them, not me."
2) "Become curious of cultures different from you. Find the unity in diversity." Robertson Art Zone
What a person doesn't know about others different from them can lead to preconceptions, fear, or anger. Lichaa has developed some first steps that everybody can do and have fun with!
it starts with us as individuals in our own sphere of influence. Through the RAZ Art Center Lichaa and the RAZ team challenge students to think again. This is easier said than done. So participants get to practice a lot
"What's your story? What's your world? Let's make it bigger!"
This slogan is an invitation where students are encouraged to become curious through the workshops, classes, and camps in a curriculum of transformation with storytelling through art that Yael Lichaa and Hagit Damto developed for Robertson Art Zone (RAZ Art Center), located in Beverly Hills, founded in 2018.
Mike Bhand with ShoutOut LA interviewed Yael Lichaa
Q: What was your thought process behind starting your business?"
A: It is easier to appreciate the good times in our lives rather than the hard times.
True appreciation develops when we struggle through our lowest points in life, leading to spiritual growth and the manifestation of our dreams in the future.
Q: What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
A: First, art is not only painting and drawing, art can be anything and anywhere. Second, you don’t have to be an artist to make art or simply enjoy art. At RAZ we believe that ANYONE CAN BE AN ARTIST!
"People who have depression or similar diseases can heal themselves if they have a powerful and creative mind."
Lichaa explained in an interview, with the impressive Washington DC-based International Child Art Foundation, and the amazing magazine CHILDART - ARTPRENEURS (page 4) "Art and Kabbalah,"
The ICAF invited RAZ Art Zone to be a presenter at the 2022 International Child Art Festival in Washington DC with artists from around the world.
"There is nothing like art to develop children's imagination. This is why art schools are so popular among parents with children. Not only do kids enjoy painting and sculpture but also many adults adopt art hobbies.
It highlighted "when you visit the RAZ Art studio you will find art classes in the morning for adults and after-school art classes for children" which Ukrainian-born artist Lichaa has conducted for 3 1/2 years.
"Yael and RAZ Art manager Hagit Damto use the wisdom of Kabbalah and give students something extra, not offered in every school. "It is not a religious matter but a spiritual one," says Yael.
"We teach them how to be better people, how to help others, how to get better, how good and positive thoughts create reality."
What better times to add art into schools and homes?
Following 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic, statistics show children are facing a 1) rise in violence, 2) worsening mental health, and a 3) surge in poverty as three of the five crises published in OCHA Services,
In a continued emphasis on serving the community with healing and joy after the pandemic, Lichaa and the dedicated RAZ team has developed the theme for summer camps with art for kids, "Reconnecting ALL of YOU in 2022!" Children will become enriched by exploring cultural arts from around the globe, including Russia and Ukraine. Lichaa expounds,
"Because each person has something unique to contribute to the whole world."
Worth 1,000 languages, one of the valuable contributions to society people can give is visual expressions of world events and the human connection to them. Lichaa did this in an extraordinary way through the costume she wore on Purim, a Jewish holiday in Beverly Hills, on March 17, 2022. A thoughtful, creative, action happened to spark many conversations and opportunities to help make a difference. She lived what she teaches others.
To read more about Yael Lichaa's secrets on 1) her life in Ukraine and Russia, 2) how to transform your life, or about 3) the art school in Beverly Hills, click: