In the Volunteer Spotlight we aim to recognize a Youth Service, Inc. volunteer making an impact in the communities we serve. This spotlight is on Sophie Edelman, an art therapist who volunteers at Youth Emergency Service.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Sophie: Hello! My name is Sophie Edelman, I’m from North New Jersey. I have been interested in art therapy since high school. I graduated early in my senior year and interned at an outpatient facility called St. Mary’s, in Passaic NJ.

I went to Drexel to study psychology but transferred after my first year. I finished my degree at the University of the Arts of Philadelphia, majoring in fibers and material studies and minoring in art therapy. I interned at the therapeutic art table at Broad Street Ministry for my senior practicum.

Q: How long have you been volunteering at YES?

Sophie: I have been volunteering at YES since last May, almost a year! I am usually there every other week. Two weeks ago I ended up painting with the teens for 3 hours. Each week is different because there are always new teens at YES. Whether it is one person at my table or 20, I am just happy to make a difference.

Q: Why did you choose Youth Emergency Service when you were looking for a place to volunteer?

Sophie: After graduation I was looking for volunteer work, I reached out to a friend, who was at the time working at YSI’s crisis nursery. Through her I got in contact with the marketing manager and pitched my idea of an art therapy group that I would run. He told me about YES and suggested I try my group there.


Q: Why do you think art is important for the teens at YES?

Sophie: Art is definitely important for the teens at YES. I provide an outlet for them to express themselves. I offer guidelines but often the teens are creating what they feel in that moment. Whether it is a distraction, cathartic release, or a relaxing activity, I am just glad they enjoy it.

To nominate a volunteer for our Volunteer Spotlight or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us at