Angel Faces®, the California-based nonprofit provides healing, holistic retreat program for girls with burn/trauma scars

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Nonprofit Looking For Girls With Burn/Trauma Scars For Healing, Holistic Retreat

Encinitas, CA, February 22, 2016 – From house fires to science experiments, car accidents and even abuse, the pain never stops for girls with severe burns or disfiguring trauma. For years after they leave the hospital, the staring, name-calling, teasing, and unwanted questions from their peers create a sort of living hell.

Each summer, adolescent girls struggling with this unfortunate reality can attend a special retreat designed to inspire and nurture them to process their injuries and losses and reach their fullest potential.

Angel Faces®, the California-based nonprofit that organizes and runs these retreats, is trying to get the word out around the country so more girls get the opportunity to attend. This year’s retreat will be held June 20-26 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Applications are posted online at The application deadline is March 15, 2016.

Since 2003, Angel Faces, based in Encinitas, has offered holistic retreats focusing on the psychosocial needs of injured girls. Angel Faces was the first organization to offer this kind of healing retreat, which differs significantly from burn camps. The weeklong retreat is free to participants – donors to Angel Faces pay the $4,500 per girl expenses.

Angel Faces’ founder, Lesia Cartelli, was herself burned severely in a gas explosion at age nine. She spent over 20 years developing and directing after-care programs for burn-injured children and adults before launching Angel Faces. Her life experiences are retold in her book, Heart of Fire: An Intimate Journey of Pain, Love and Healing.

“We take girls who hurt inside and out, who may be in a spiral of self-pity, anger and depression, and we teach them to get out of the spiral by embracing the pain as a blessing,” Cartelli said. “We show them how tragedy can wake us to life’s richness, how it touches our heart and our soul on many levels.”

The so-called Level I retreat is for girls 12-18. Its curriculum teaches girls how to improve their self-image and increase self-confidence while embracing their trauma and related disfigurement. Licensed therapists lead sessions on trauma and loss issues, followed by activities that facilitate emotional healing through verbal expression, journaling and art therapy. The girls attend sessions on how to handle stares, teasing and unwanted questions, and do goal-setting exercises. They also receive professional instruction for applying corrective cosmetics and experience therapeutic massage and facials that help them connect with and embrace their body, for perhaps the first time. Starting this year, participants in the Level I retreat will be required to commit to participating in a year-long, online after-care program, called ‘Angels in Flight,’ which reinforces and builds skills learned and friendships made during the retreat.

Angel Faces’ mission is to provide healing retreats and ongoing support of adolescent girls and young women with burn/trauma injuries to achieve their optimum potential and develop meaningful relationships for themselves, their families, and their communities. Its board includes medical professionals such as Dr. Michael Murphy, Boston; Dr. Melanie Palm, Solana Beach, CA; and Dr. Jill Waibel, Miami.

Angel Faces is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, Federal Tax ID # 20-5718594.

Available on and all online outlets
Heart of Fire: An Intimate Journey of Pain, Love and Healing
Carlyle Publishing


Barbara Walters, ABC News 20/20: “This is a story you will still be thinking about tomorrow.”

Dr. Phil and Robyn McGraw, Dr. Phil Show: “Lesia Cartelli is the perfect example of someone who has used a tragedy and her heart to help others. We are honored to give her the Heart of a Woman Award.”

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