Today’s blog was written by Katie Levy, Social Work Intern with Hope For The Warriors®.  She is attending Touro College Graduate School of Social Work and his a fellow in the school’s military social work program.  Through her internship, she has supported our mission by working with service members and veterans in the New York City area.

This past Saturday, October 19, Hope For The Warriors® hosted our first event for the Women Veterans Initiative as part of New York Cares Day.  The Women Veterans Initiative was created to develop programs specifically for servicewomen that honor their unique experiences, strengths, challenges, and camaraderie.  Our goal is to enhance Women Veterans’ professional development, provide specialized critical care, team build in local communities, promote health and wellness and provide communities with education and resources concerning relevant issues facing Women Veterans.
 

Female Service Members, Veterans, and Hope staff joined together to participate in New York City’s largest hands-on volunteer day.  Each fall, thousands of volunteers work with New York Cares to ensure that our city’s public schools are a clean, safe, and nurturing environments for our children.   



We spent the day brightening Bronx public school PS 50X Clara Barton.  Early this year, the school was notified it was one of the 22 schools voted by the Department of Education to “phase out.”  No new students were admitted in September, and the doors will close for good in June 2016.  Phase out schools aren’t a priority for public funds, but Clara Barton was in need of a little brightening.  We spent the day getting to know the school’s staff while painting murals and getting our hands dirty in the community garden. 

Active Duty, Reserve, and retired Service Members came together from different military branches to engage in community work.  They all had different experiences but shared commonalities: a commitment to service, a desire for community and connection with others who already “understand the acronyms” civilians may not.  After only a few short hours in each other’s company, team members were discussing unique experiences of women in the military, pearls of wisdom, and words of comfort.  I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know these amazing women who generously accepted me into their sisterhood for the day.  I’ve never seen an immediate level of intimacy achieved in such a short amount of time, and it was really moving to experience.   

Thanks for making our first event of the Women Veterans Initiative a great one.  We look forward to many more in the future!