Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) uses peer-to-peer therapy to combat the physical and invisible wounds of war. The R2R approach is simple yet powerful: bring injured service members together and challenge them to complete a 300-400 mile bike ride. The races create a safe environment in which to connect with peers and discuss issues, while at the same time helping them recognize their resilience and appreciate their perseverance. The Bob Woodruff Foundation will sponsor ten post-9/11 wounded injured or ill veteran riders at R2R races. The BWF sponsored riders must register for VA eBenefits or provide their contact info to Team Red White and Blue, Disabled Sports USA or a local Paralympic Club so that contact with these organizations can provide race participants with a conduit for social engagement in their communities and ease their integration into civilian life. Both Colin and General Casey recommended this group to us, Colin did a ride with them last year.
There & Back Again was founded in 2005 by combat veterans who had been living with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress for decades before finding integrative therapies as the key to processing their war experiences and managing their symptoms of PTS. They have found that teaching injured service members to integrate mind-body practices into daily life empowers them to be active participants in their healing and reintegration. It also enhances the continuity of care as they transition from active duty to veteran status; the mind-body tools they learn are portable. TABA is partnering with 6 organizations collaboratively to provide a resiliency and reintegration program serving the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Instructors will work with the multi-disciplinary treatment teams to offer sessions in yoga and meditation several times per week. The sessions will be facilitated by teachers who have received Warriors at Ease Certification, a program that certifies yoga and meditation teachers in military culture and the signature injuries of combat. They will also offer scholarships to injured service members interested in pursing certification as yoga and mediation instructors.
ServiceSource Warrior Bridge – Northern Virginia
ServiceSource’s Warrior Bridge Program launched in Northern Virginia in 2012 with funding support from BWF. In their first year, they removed barriers to employment and connected disabled post-9/11 veterans to a broad range of supportive services, serving 100 individuals. In their start-up year, the Warrior Bridge Program learned a great deal about the needs of the population they are serving. As a result, they will provide more comprehensive, high-touch service with the goal of creating a much greater impact in individuals’ lives in the second year. Services will include case management, access to transportation, respite care, home repair and education and training to help disabled service members become self-sufficient and ready for sustained employment.
The Urban Justice Center: Veteran Advocacy Project – New York City
The Veteran Advocacy Project has spent the last few years establishing a presence and a trust among New York City’s veterans groups. They have a track record of meeting veterans where they are in NYC – in schools, in shelters, in rehabilitation facilities, at the VA seeking treatment, and in peer-run organizations – and they have shown that they understand and can address some of the unique challenges they face. Through VAP’s work they have identified a growing need for legal services among the new generation of OIF/OEF veterans on college campuses in New York City. Student veterans, many of whom are struggling with PTS, TBI and other combat-related injuries, are also struggling with consumer debt, red tape surrounding their benefits, long lines in welfare centers, and eviction notices on their doors. Following a successful pilot campus outreach project on New York City campuses, they were overwhelmed by the demand for legal assistance, and have had to shut down their intake line because they don’t have the staff to support it. Funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will make it possible for them to hire a staff member to deliver completely free legal services and preventative outreach to post-9/11 veterans on New York City college campuses with a focus on those living with PTS, TBI, substance abuse and mental illness.
Worklife Institute – Houston, Texas
The Worklife Institute has already been recognized for their success in moving large numbers of veterans into sustainable and upwardly mobile, satisfying employment. BWF is granting funding for a second year continuation and expansion of their OEF/OIF Reentry and Worklife Transition Program in Houston and 10 surrounding counties, serving post-9/11 injured service members and their families. The major elements of the program include career assistance, training, supportive counseling services, legal and financial advisement, professional and personal development workshops, outreach, and partnerships with other community veteran service providers.
Commercial air travel can pose a host of challenges for combat-injured service members — challenges that often preclude them from being able to attend important events and/or receive needed services in a timely manner. Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) provides free air transportation to post-9/11 military wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. With private aircraft, military wounded and their families are able to travel in comfort without having to contend with long lines, TSA hassles or crowds as they navigate through large public airport terminals. BWF funding will support the VAC flight coordination function, which matches private pilots and and aircraft with veterans in need of transport.