Mind-Full Founder

The Mind-Full program supplies mental health practitioners and school counselors with expressive art collage kits for k-12 students. Our kits are created from recycled materials collected from community donations and schools. Mind-Full’s goal is to provide creative expression therapy solutions that are low-cost and can be done with limited resources in an environmentally friendly way.

Taryn Claassens founded Mind-Full during her junior year in High School as an Ambassador Girl Scout for her Gold Award project. Taryn saw a need in our current world to address mental health in the school environment in a sustainable and accessible way.  Her program was created to serve communities and support schools in helping children and adolescents navigate anxiety and stress in a way that keeps them in school and provides them with a safe space to express emotions. In addition to schools, Mind Full supports charities and crisis centers with low-cost sustainable materials for expressive arts though recycling efforts to aid therapy programs and improve well-being.

Mind-Full’s Origins

As a student of music and art, Taryn had always found peace in the power of creativity. Whether she was playing her violin, listening to music, or pouring her emotions onto a canvas, the expressive arts provided an outlet for her feelings that words alone could not convey. As she advanced into her studies, Taryn’s interests expanded to include psychology, public health, and environmental issues. As our mental health is intrinsically linked to our physical health, so too is the state of our environment impacting our mental and physical health. She began to explore how expressive arts therapy could be used as a tool for healing on multiple levels – facilitating emotional release while promoting overall wellness in individuals and communities alike. As Taryn studied psychology, public health, and environmental concerns, she discovered a purpose for using art as medicine.

The name “Mind-Full” came from the realization that when we are stressed, we are not able to be as present or “mindful” of the things that are happening around us because our minds are “full.”  This, in turn, impacts learning and causes students to shut down or act out. Learning how to articulate our thoughts and emotions is an important part of managing stress and anxiety. The goal of Mind-Full is to provide resources and support so that everyone can learn how to better manage their stressors in a way that works for them.

Mind-Full expressive art kits and boxes are curated and sourced from community recycling drives and donation of material. The kits are planned and created by high school community service clubs. Mind-Full started in Taryn’s craft room and has now moved over to her Cobb County high school, its new home.  In addition to supplying kits, Taryn believes passionately that students in middle-high school can be ambassadors of their own schools and communities and supply their own Mind-Full kits. With a passion to see the program grow, she has created a plan and conducts workshops to train other students to lead curation teams.