Traumatized and Disfigured Girls and Young Women Receive Empowering Support and Life-Enhancing Tools at Angel Faces Annual Retreat
Becoming Brave is the theme for the 15th annual retreat June 18-24
By: Angel Faces
Angel Faces is a national nonprofit, based in Encinitas, California, founded by Lesia Cartelli. Cartelli experienced traumatic burn injuries in a fiery explosion at her grandparents' home when she was 9 years old. She wrote about her extraordinary healing process in the autobiography "Heart of Fire" and has devoted her life to helping girls who are living with physical and emotional pain from their disfiguring injuries.
"Our programs enhance self-love and social skills," explained Cartelli, "while addressing the emotional and psychological healing process from traumatic injuries, all within a holistic framework of mind, body, and spirit."
There are two levels of sessions at the retreat. Level One is for girls ages 14-18 who will participate with licensed psychologists in group sessions focused on identifying trauma and loss issues. Psychologists will then facilitate emotional healing through verbal expression, journaling and art therapy. The sessions also include yoga, corrective cosmetics and therapeutic massage.
Becoming Brave is the theme for this year's retreat. Girls will explore their bravery and discover ways to build it. Cartelli understands the pain and loneliness of disfiguring injuries and what it takes to be brave.
"When I was burned, everything in my life changed," Cartelli said. "My friendships changed. I hated going to school. You are coping with things you never had to cope with before. People staring at you. People asking questions. Why do you look like that?"
A group of young women, ages 19-29, who have already participated in a Level One retreat will serve as mentors to the younger girls. Level Two runs June 20-24 and is also an opportunity for the women to focus on themselves through sessions designed to improve resilience, acceptance, gratitude, and leadership over their lives.
The retreat participants come from North America, Mexico, Europe, and this year Afghanistan. One of the teens, Fahima, was burned by the Taliban in Afghanistan when she was 18 months old. She has burns to her head, face, leg and hand. Fahima is living in the U.S. with a host family and is receiving continuous medical treatment.
The goal of Angel Faces is to give girls and young women "the resilience tools they'll need to live a life of purpose and determination beyond their physical scars," said Cartelli.
About Angel Faces
Angel Faces, established in 2003 in Encinitas, California, is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit providing healing retreats and ongoing support of adolescent girls and young women with burn/trauma injuries to achieve their optimum potential and develop meaningful relationships for themselves, their families, and their communities. For more information visit www.angelfaces.com.