Dearborn Heights (CBS Detroit)  – We don’t know their stories, but each young woman has one. Some of them are sad, and others put up a front so the world can’t enter. These are the young women living at Vista Maria.  Now, through songwriting and singing, these girls are finding their lost voices.

Lost Voices is a group of Michigan folk and blues musicians who have joined forces to reach out to kids like this. Founded in 2007 by author, award-winning humorist and folk musician Mike Ball, they are on a mission to bring creativity, self respect and personal growth to incarcerated and at-risk youth.

“They’ve traded violence, or sex, or drugs or whatever, for existence,” explains Executive Director Mike Ball. “We sit down with children, we let them wander around in their deepest hearts, and we help them to put that to music.”

Every Lost Voices program is created as a safe and non-judgmental atmosphere where the kids can reach into their deepest feelings and ideas, then express them in original songs. Over the years these programs have touched more than 2,500 young victims and produced dramatic therapeutic breakthroughs.

“Music is an amazingly healing thing, music is universal,” continues Ball. “When we let them take their feelings, articulate those in words and wrap music around them, it creates a magical experience for them.”

“These are kids that are filled with fear, they’ve had lives that a lot of us don’t even want to imagine. And I look into their eyes and I see a flower opening.”

“It’s tough for any teenager to sort out the world in the best of circumstances, the circumstances that these kids are in is really tough, and yet there they are. They plug away and they do it…if that’s not a lesson in determination then I don’t know what would be.”

“I really think the world needs to know about these children, and the struggles that they have and what they’re trying to do. We just give them the opportunity and the permission to explore it, and then we show them how beautiful those feelings really can be. It’s beautiful when it all snaps into place and becomes something that changes lives.”

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