Director’s Corner

About Me

My name is Cara Loken and I am the Founder and Director of heARTS for Healing. I am the proud winner of the 2016 Armed Forces Insurance National Guard Spouse of the Year. As a wife and mother of combat war veterans, I have seen the effects that war can carry even after returning to civilian life. My husband is still in the Air National Guard. My son, an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division was honorably discharged two years ago, but still suffers from PTSD. I think art therapy would be great avenue to help our veterans and service members, while having fun and being creative.

Press Release,

Bianca Strzalkowski,

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA (March 6, 2017) – heARTS for Healing – a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing veterans and caregivers with supportive tools and resources, is hosting its kickoff arts program for 2017. The workshop focuses on the proven healing effects of the arts for veterans grappling with various service- connected challenges.

Founder Cara Loken, who was named 2016 Armed Forces Insurance National Guard Spouse of the Year, says she started the organization after seeing her own son, a former soldier, endure his own struggle with PTSD. She hopes bringing together veterans and their peers can help those in the local area.

“I started the organization when I recognized a need existed for a creative outlet designed with our service members and vets in mind. The foundation of what we provide focuses on the healing nature of the arts with the added element of friendship and camaraderie,”
Cara Loken, a military spouse, said.
“While various art therapy programs already exist for this demographic, heARTS for Healing does not have a clinical component, rather it is a free, non-threatening way that our attendees can express themselves through many different methods among their peers.”

Among today’s veterans’ demographics, 64 percent report some form of mental health challenges to include Post Traumatic Stress, according to a RAND study. Further, there exists 1.1 million caregivers of post 9/11 veterans who are responsible for managing the lingering impact of combat. heARTS for Healing will be confirming workshop dates designed for caregivers on a future date.

While this program is non-clinical, it is intended to complement a larger effort by Veterans Affairs that incorporates arts therapy into veterans’ treatment plans at facilities around the country.

About heARTS for Healing: The organization offers a creative outlet for veterans that suffer from PTSD, mental issues, physical concerns, and other combat related issues. Our mission is to show our veterans other outlets  that can help them focus on creativity and using the imagination to create a masterpiece, or help them tell their stories using different artistic methods through arts workshops and  connection with those peers with shared experiences.

Find us on Facebook at

Cara Loken’s number is 402-613-2817