As a Musical Ambassador of Peace, Ari has designed a specific program for refugee populations and uses evidence-based techniques to cultivate resilience through movement, music, and laughter. She has danced with thousands of displaced souls—from Syrian and Iraqi girls rescued from ISIS enslavement to Afghan women escaping the Taliban to Central American kids who were separated at the border or had to travel to the US on their own.
The pandemic hasn’t slowed down the sessions. Since the spring of 2020, per the request of asylum seekers, Ari has been holding weekly dance sessions via Zoom to keep her connection with refugees stuck in Mexico. Since 2021 she has danced in person with refugees living in Mexico-based shelters, unaccompanied Central American children at San Diego Convention Center, and Haitians and Afghans who have recently landed in Mexico or San Diego.
Due to the success of the program, Ari is now providing customized Resilience through Joy workshops to schools, churches, nonprofits, and healthcare institutions. In 2022 she danced with Ukrainian refugees in London alongside Shirin Amani Azari, a psychotherapist specializing in working with victims of torture and war⭐️
Dancing with Refugee Kids from Different Parts of the World
Dancing with Ukrainian Refugees in London (Spring 2022)
Dancing with Asylum Seekers in Tijuana (Winter 2021)
Dancing with Recent Haitian Refugees (Fall 2021)
Mexicali Migrant Shelter (El Dia de Los Muertos 2021)
NBC San Diego
After a dance session with unaccompanied minors at the Convention Center
CBS San Diego
Besides wellbeing support through music, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, donates money, hygiene products, clothes, and food to shelters hosting asylum seekers. MAP and Gente Unida with the help of a matching fund through Healing Hands and other donors raised over $50,000 in 2021. Because of this donor support, we have overseen projects that foster a healing environment for migrant children and their families in several shelters in Mexico. For the latest videos and news of the Central America sessions, please follow Ari on Instagram.
Slate: Why Dancing is So Good for Us
Newsweek: Stop Saying Migrant Parents Don’t Love Their Children
Parents: Children at the Border Need Joy, Just Like Our Kids. So I Bring Them Music
Yes! Magazine: Amid Travel Ban, Refugee Women Cope With Trauma and Stress Through Drum Circles
Voice of San Diego: Bringing Music and Dance to Asylum Seekers, One Drumbeat at a Time
Chicago Tribune: Drum circle helps refugee women heal from trauma