Karen Pence highlights art therapy with Asia-Pacific trip

Vice President Mike Pence, his wife, Karen, and their daughter Charlotte arrive for a rally on the National Mall before the March for Life on January 27, 2017.

Story highlights

  • Karen Pence is traveling to the Asia-Pacific
  • She plans to use the trip to highlight children and art therapy programs

(CNN)When Vice President Mike Pence embarks on an 11-day trip across the Asia-Pacific, his wife, Karen, will join him with a mission of her own.

The second lady is heading to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii beginning Saturday to "highlight her initiative, art therapy, meet with military service members and spouses, and participate in cultural activities," according to a statement from the office of the second lady. Daughter Charlotte Pence will also travel with the family.
Pence, who was an elementary school teacher for more than 25 years, plans to use her platform as second lady to bring attention to children and art therapy programs. In 2013, she founded the Indiana First Lady's Charitable Foundation to support youth, families and arts organizations.
She will observe art therapy programs and participate in roundtable discussions with art therapists in Seoul, South Korea, and in Tokyo. She will also participate in a discussion with art therapists in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Sydney.
"Art therapy can be used for anyone who is experiencing trauma," Pence said in a recent interview with CBN News, citing its success at children's hospitals and with wounded warriors, as well as other people dealing with trauma.
"It's not arts and crafts, it's not therapeutic art: It's actually therapy, and I want to let people know it's something that you could go into as a profession ... I want people to know this is an alternative: If you need help, this might be the way you want to go," she said.
The second lady is an artist herself, specializing in watercolors of homes and historical buildings, according to her official White House biography. Pence had a small business selling handcrafted towel charms to help tell bathroom towels apart. The business was on hold, but its website was recently taken down.
And Pence, who is the mother of a Marine, will also spend time with troops and their families while in Seoul, Sydney, and Honolulu.
While in Honolulu, she will also visit Schofield Barracks "to see how the base is integrating their behavioral health unit to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," per the statement.