Veterans’ Voices Expands Mission, Changes Name
Kansas City, MO, September 1, 2015 – A national non-profit organization offering therapeutic writing services to America’s veterans has expanded its mission and changed its name. After 69 years serving veterans in VA hospitals, Veterans’ Voices has expanded its mission to reach veterans outside of the VA hospital system and has changed its logo to reflect the new name.
Veterans Voices Writing Project (VVWP), originally began as the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project (HVWP) in 1946, an outreach program for wounded veterans returning from World War II. Volunteers went into Department of Veterans Affairs hospital wards to encourage soldiers and sailors to write their stories, thoughts and feelings on paper.
Today veterans may or may not receive services through the VA hospital system after coming home, but they still have a critical need to process all they’ve been through in their military/combat experiences. “It was clear there was a growing portion of the veteran population that we weren’t reaching with our therapeutic writing programs. We saw the need and regularly fielded requests from veterans who were not in a VA hospital system.” says Deann Shinkle Mitchell, VVWP Board Vice President.
Therapeutic writing has been shown to help with managing PTSD symptoms and reducing the risk of suicide. With approximately 22 American veterans committing suicide each day, totaling over 8,000 veteran suicides each year, the need to provide emotional support is more critical than ever.
A veteran author
“I had a choice on that day to either write or commit suicide and I chose to write. It lets me write out emotions that I feel and I can forget about it for awhile. This is the only place where I can ‘let my demons loose’ and really express myself.” –Tim Segrest, US Army Special Forces
In addition to PTSD benefits, veterans write for creative expression as well. The program also offers the opportunity for community in writing groups and to have their work published. Veterans Voices Writing Project reaches an estimated 31,000 veterans every year with the writing therapy and readership of the magazine. VVWP receives 750-900 manuscripts and art pieces each year from veterans across the country for possible publication in Veterans’ Voices magazine.
“We are very excited about our expanded mission, the new name and how we’ll be able to serve more veterans. The history of this organization in Kansas City is long and deep, and their story has largely gone untold in the Kansas City community. It’s really a hidden gem that exemplifies philanthropic Kansas City’s spirit. There is no other veteran organization like it,” says VVWP Board President, Jerry D. Brown.
To learn more information about Veterans’ Voices and HVWP, visit http://www.veteransvoices.org or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veterans-Voices/191896007584247