(Fort Worth, TX) Following the lead of the 82nd Texas Legislature in designating March 2012 as Women Veterans Month, a number of cities are showing their support by doing the same.
The commemoration is just one of a number of awareness and educational efforts by the Fort Worth-based non-profit Grace After Fire, a group that works exclusively to support women Veterans returning from combat and transitioning to civilian lives.
Also in March, Grace After Fire will launch Table Talk™: Color Me Camo, a pilot peer-to-peer support program for women Veterans that focuses on gender specific topics through structured, positive interaction with trained facilitators and fellow peers. Table Talk is actively seeking additional women Veteran volunteers both as facilitators and participants.
The outreach programs have been made possible by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans' Assistance. Outreach efforts are designed to involve more women Veterans in Grace After Fire and to inspire local communities to honor their local women Veterans and say thank you for their service, too.
According to Kimberly Olson, Colonel, USAF (ret), president/CEO of Grace After Fire, surviving a war zone can require extreme measures, and women Veterans need a safe, welcoming environment to reintegrate. Texas will have the second largest population of women Veterans by 2013. Grace After Fire's Table Talk will pilot in Texas.
The organization has spent the last year designing and building Table Talk to help women Veterans help themselves by instilling self-knowledge as a catalyst to self-renewal, helping participants gain empowerment and providing inspiration so as to ease reentry into civilian circumstances. The model is based on one-on-one mentorships that partner women Veterans. Volunteer mentors will have undergone an application screening process, received classroom and online training, and will expect to participate in annual recertification.
Grace After Fire's plans to guide and honor women Veterans have been under way for over a year. They invite all women Veterans who wish to take advantage of Grace After Fire's services or to act as facilitators to get in touch with Grace at www.gracefterfire.org or call 817-682-6694. There is no cost to women Veterans who participate.
"We have staff coordinators in several Texas cities to oversee training and program launch," said Olson. "It's remarkable that this has all come together during a month specifically designated to honor our tireless women Veteran heroes now back at home. Texas obviously has a strong commitment to its women Veterans."
As of Feb. 13, 2012, some of the cities issuing local proclamations to name March as Women Veterans Month locally include Arlington, Austin, Bedford, Benbrook, Burleson, Colleyville, Crowley, Euless, Fort Worth, Hurst, Lubbock, Mansfield, McKinney, Mineral Wells, Plano, Tyler, and Weatherford. For an up-to-date list of participating cities and information about their proclamation presentation dates, time, and locations, please visit the Grace After Fire website.
The Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans' Assistance provides grants to organizations serving veterans and their families. Funding for these grants comes from a portion of Veterans scratch-off lottery ticket sales. Learn more about the Texas Veterans Commission at http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/ or by phone 1-800-252-VETS (8387).
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Grace After Fire is dedicated to helping women Veterans help themselves by providing the means for women Veterans to gain knowledge, insight and self-renewal. Grace guides women Veterans as they re-enter their communities and the workforce and refines their roles for a successful future. Founded in 2008, the organization is led by president/CEO Kimberly Olson, Colonel, USAF (ret). Headquarters are in Fort Worth, Texas; telephone 817-682-6694.