LORELEI Bury uses her art to communicate with others.
"My case workers at Margaret Jurd College [in Shortland] look at my art and what it's talking about and understand what I'm going through," Lorelei, 15, said. "I use art to talk to people, I find it easier."
Lorelei suffers anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder following an incident in her neighbourhood when she was in year seven.
"I was not the greatest at art but my teacher gave me a pencil and paper and it went from there," she said. "It's pretty much like an escape.
"I can not think about what's going on and just think about what I'm drawing.
It's not my brain constantly worrying me about bad things."
She also used it to cope with bullying. "Art was awesome - they would be talking but I'd be trying to focus on my art and sound them out."
She now sketches for about two hours every night.
"It's exciting to see what I can draw and what my brain comes up with when I step outside my comfort zone."
Lorelei and her older sister Claire-Louise are supported by The Smith Family, which provides participants with financial sponsorship, mentoring from staff and access to a range of programs.
Lorelei is this week participating in Bella, a program that includes three days of lessons with artist educators at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the opportunity to exhibit works on Friday.
Participants will also enjoy social activities including a backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House and view the Archibald Prize exhibition.
Bella coordinator Kim McClintock said the program explored the "scope and breadth of art".
"They do quite experimental stuff, it's about connecting with feelings and what drives them, motivates them and inspires them," she said.
Previous projects have included participants designing a logo that represents them to print on a t-shirt, drawing on the museum windows and creating wearable cardboard sculptures.
Lorelei said it sounded "awesome".
She said her sister had completed Bella and was now studying to become an art teacher.
"She got back crying because she didn't want to come home," she said. "She said if I ever get the chance to do Bella to do it. It helped her to meet new people, have the courage to talk to them and make new friends."