Through its efforts to empower military veterans and families to live life to the fullest, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) offers programs and services that reach thousands of people each year. The organization’s programs focus on a variety of areas, including physical health, peer and family support, mental wellness, and career advancement. Since its founding in 2003, the organization has expanded nationally to serve over 111,000 combat veterans and more than 27,000 military family members.
Today, WWP continues to promote healing and increased quality of life among service members dealing with physical injuries, mental challenges, and emotional scars resulting from time spent fighting for their country. The organization achieves these goals through national programs as well as a wide variety of local activities that connect veterans with each other and their communities.
Here are just a few examples of the many ways that WWP has been supporting warriors in cities throughout the country:
Bringing Military Families Together through Art
According to the majority of respondents to WWP’s most recent annual survey, military veterans rely on the support of their families and other veterans to deal with combat-related mental health issues. In South China, Maine, military families had the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company while learning to express their artistic creativity at a fun paint-night activity.
During the February 2018 event, WWP helped veterans create unique, winter-themed paintings under the tutelage of local artists. The event enabled veterans and their families to spend much-needed time together doing a fun activity that produced a memento they can hang on their wall. Like all of WWP’s programs and resources, the Maine paint-night event was offered free of charge.
Empowering Women Who Support Wounded Veterans
In addition to helping combat veterans directly, WWP works to improve the lives of wounded warriors by equipping their families with the knowledge and skills they need to provide long-term support for their loved one. As part of these efforts, WWP held a special gathering for veterans’ female family members in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, in February 2018.
The weekend retreat featured a tour of WWP headquarters as well as team-building exercises and other bonding activities, including a Wonder Woman-themed movie night. The women at the event also had the opportunity to take part in an educational workshop on essential oils, which they learned how to use to enhance at-home massage-therapy sessions for the veterans in their families. For their own benefit, those who attended the retreat learned that they were not alone in their experiences caring for veterans overcoming combat-related injuries.
Using Nature to Promote Recovery
Earlier in February, injured veterans in Connecticut spent some time outside birdwatching and improving their nature photography skills. During the WWP-sponsored event, professional photographers taught participants how to take great pictures of wildlife and natural landscapes.
To help veterans capture the perfect photo, photographers demonstrated the proper use of cameras and various photography accessories. Participants also learned about photo editing at the event, which took place at the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Area, a Southbury destination known for its bald eagle viewing opportunities.
Providing Resources to Jump-Start Creativity
In Colorado, military veterans sharpened their creativity indoors during a writing workshop held in Colorado Springs in late January. Along with helping veterans learn to develop story plots and characters, the workshop encouraged them to share their experiences and explore the ways in which they have overcome challenges inside and outside of the military. As is the case with many of WWP’s activities, the writing workshop was as much about socializing as it was about developing new skills.
Connecting Warriors with Careers in the Civilian Workforce
Throughout the country, veterans dealing with combat-related injuries are benefitting from WWP’s Warriors to Work program, which provides guidance, support, and resources to service members as they transition from the military to civilian careers. The program has helped veterans like Jarrod Tallman, a former marine who recently used WWP career counseling to secure a position with a Dallas-based medical center.
In addition to counseling services, the Warriors to Work program assists veterans with writing a resume, preparing for interviews, and connecting with local employers. The program is open to registered WWP alumni and family support members in all 50 states.
Warriors to Work also provides support for employers looking to make veterans an integral part of their organizations. To participate, employers must register with WWP through the Warriors to Work portal. More information about the program and any of WWP’s recent activities is available at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.