Read the full article on Chloe McFeters website: http://www.chloemcfeters.com/mea-williams-of-grace-after-fire/
Here's a small excerpt from the interview...
CM: Through your work, what have you come to believe are the biggest challenges that some of your fellow women Veterans face after separating from the military?
MW: What I have come to learn about some of the greatest challenges that my fellow women Veterans face is that after leaving the military and reentering their communities as veteran citizens, many women veterans face the challenge of finding a sense of belonging. It's hard sometimes to go back into a community where the people have not served and don't quite understand the mindset of those who have served. Sometimes it is just hard to fit in or to feel that sense of "belonging" in a place that is unfamiliar.
When a women Veteran leaves the military, she is fighting quiet "wars" inside, and she doesn't always know how to express or explain that to someone who has not experienced the same thing. When it comes to the foundation of the military, I like to refer to the three "S Pillars": Structure, Systems, and Support. Service members soon come to know, appreciate, and rely on that structure, system, and support. For example, in thinking about structure, a woman serving in the military knows exactly what each day is going to look like, from what she wears, to when she eats, to the flow of work for the day ahead. There's always a plan for the day, and you know the plan. Then there are systems, the military's way of sorting and maintaining things, rules, policies, and procedures, a structure that each day is built upon. And then there is support. In the military you have your command, your brothers and sisters in arms. We may not always agree while in uniform, but when you are in service, you certainly are going to have folks there who are accountable for you, and you for them, and you and they will be there for each other in time of need. At least that is what is taught and is expected to happen. Without those pillars in place, some Veterans tend to lose their sense of direction and belonging.
Other challenges include: finding a sense of purpose, identifying a career that fits the skills learned and practiced in the military, and finding a support system of people who "get it."
Grace After Fire President/CEO, Mea Williams participates in the Student Veterans of America (SVA) 2016 Leadership Institute Series: Houston, June 16-18, 2016, sponsored by BP.
The Leadership Institute Series is an annual series of leadership training events around the country. Focus is on strategic planning and business plan development. On the last day, each chapter presents their plan to a panel of judges from the local business community who provide expert feedback and advice.
You can find the Student Veterans of America on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They use the #SVALeads hashtag to note leadership summits.
This past Spring, the Grace After Fire team collaborated with a team of Rice University MBA graduates for a capstone project which focused on our agency's growth. Seen above is our Board Chair, a board member, CEO, staff, and the MBA team. Thank you to all for your hard work on the project and helping us grow and continue to serve more.
Published in: The Scuttlebutt, May 2016 Edition, page 19
By Monique N. Rodriguez, MSWApril 16, 2016
Jessica and Shawntiasha spent a casual Tuesday working out at a local gym, along side was Jessica’s four year old daughter, watching two women Veterans motivate each other. As they talked, exercised, and inspired one another through the workout session, little did the bystanders know that they had just met three days prior where their friendship was created.
They met at Grace After Fire’s Women Veterans Spring Retreat. They were among 19 women Veterans plus staff to take a bus tour through Texas with stops in Houston and San Antonio with the final destination to a private ranch in Central Texas. Two women Veterans drove into together from Dallas to meet the group. Everyone arrived on Friday, April 1st with a welcome briefing from both Grace After Fire and the Ranch staff. Shortly afterwards, Jessica and Shawntiasha, along with the other women Veterans, sat down to eat for dinner. The two women began to learn more about each other. They soon realized how much they had in common, living in the same city, living only a few minutes apart yet now meeting hours from Houston. Once nightfall fell, the wind picked up, and the temperatures dropped, the women Veterans along with the staff spent several hours by a campfire, sitting on beach chairs, covered in warm blankets, underneath a pavilion while snacking on self-made warm s’mores. The Grace After Fire staff led a conversation allowing each woman Veteran the opportunity to introduce themselves including their military background, why they decided to attend the retreat, and what they hope to gain from the experience. The campfire conversation was filled with personal stories of struggle, tragedy, strength, courage, and motivation to heal. The light from the embers of the fire, the stillness of the night, and the twinkle of the stars created a surreal environment for all the visiting city dwellers.
Read more: Grace After Fire's Women Veterans Spring Retreat Creates New Friendships
In this episode, The Pulse Radio discusses mental health and Veterans with Army Specialist, Monique Rodriguez of Grace After Fire.
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