Thank you to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Chris Vaughn for today's article regarding our inaugural Discover Your Grace: The Power of Women Veterans Summit: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/01/3777230/dallas-summit-to-focus-on-needs.html "We want the women to believe that all they need to get well is inside them. They are not victims. They have control over their own lives."
Excellent article about women, leadership, and the workplace, featuring our President/CEO Colonel Kim Olson. "The best leaders are those whose drive extends to a vision beyond their own achievements, to one that enhances the quality of life for others as well."
It's Tuesday night and Tammy Figueroa, outreach coordinator for the women veterans organization Grace After Fire, is leading a women's peer support group at Bringing Everyone in the Zone in Killeen.
The meeting's focus is on anger — how it can be used for good, and how it can be less constructive.
There is laughter and there are tears. Figueroa, an Army veteran, listens far more than she speaks. She volunteers personal information, it seems, only to identify with and encourage the women around her.
One such experience — the one Figueroa leads with in her introduction — is military sexual trauma. "I'm a survivor of MST," she tells the group, using the acronym often used to describe the unwanted, persistent advances or sexual assault that one in five female veterans and one in 100 male veterans have experienced, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Read more: Military sexual trauma survivor helps others overcome abuse
Grace After Fire, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit dedicated to women veterans, will kick off Women Veterans Month with a day-long conference on issues of importance to Texas women veterans, March 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Parker University Wellness Center, 2540 Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas.
The inaugural summit, “Discover Your Grace: The Power of Women Veterans,” will feature sessions with authorities in health and wellness, family resilience, gender-specific medicine, fashion, workforce opportunities, the latest in brain research on post-combat challenges, access to health care, and peer-to-peer model focused on women.
State Sens. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) will lead the opening ceremonies, while retired Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead will give the keynote address.
The conference is free for the first 150 participants, including meals and an evening basketball game between the Texas Legends and the Austin Toros. Reservations are required.
For online reservations, visit www.graceafterfire.org. For information, call 817-682-6694.
By Kimberly OlsonSpecial to the Star-Telegram
Sara was living in her car in the parking lot of a local grocery store -- certainly not the place that this military veteran thought she would find herself after returning from two tours in Iraq. Unfortunately, hers is a story that unfolds for some women veterans.
If you met Sara today, you would scarcely believe that just four months ago her car was her home and that she was wondering where she would get her next meal. What happened during those four months was that Sara experienced outreach from a fellow veteran and found meaningful work.
Those of us at Grace After Fire who interact daily with veterans quickly discover a powerful truth: Work makes them well. After years of constant deployments and relocation, most veterans want work that sustains a family and is in a place where they can put down roots. Our veterans are smart, brave, tenacious and experienced men and women, and they don't want or need a handout. "Let me earn my way," or "I can do it myself" are common refrains.
Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/02/15/3738227/olson-female-veterans-face-steep.html#storylink=cpy
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