Navy Safe Harbor Foundation’s (NSHF) mission is to support the wounded, ill and injured Navy and Coast Guard Sailor and their families enrolled in the Navy Wounded Warrior Program (NWWP). As of 2020 one of the ways we are striving to meet this mission is by working with the NWWP staff to host 3 programs this year aimed at providing resiliency and respite to Wounded Warrior Caregivers. The first of these programs just took place in Alexandria, VA.
Fifteen caregivers from Naval District Washington and the Mid-Atlantic Region arrived in Alexandria Thursday evening, Feb 27 with the hope that they would leave rested, relaxed and with new information that would provide a positive impact on their “new reality”.
The program started off with a group cooking demonstration and dinner generously donated by Culinaria Cooking School in Vienna, VA. Chef Stephen P. Sands and Chef Pete Snaith assembled the food while teaching the steps that resulted in a full 3-course meal. While the chefs worked the Caregivers were encouraged to get to know one another, share experiences and tips that may benefit each other. The evening closed with a Chocolate Raspberry Tart and new friendships sending all involved off with smiles on their faces.
Friday morning began with a presentation by FOCUS-Families Overcoming Under Stress. The two-hour session presented techniques aimed at improving emotional regulation, active listening, problem-solving, goal setting and tips to help the family develop a plan that could help manage unexpected stressors and trauma. There were tears and laughter, shared stories and a real sense of comradery.
Music Therapy, Communication Skills, and Mindfulness-Wellness sessions completed the afternoon. Each participant left the day having learned how to use music to create a place of peace and calm, if only for a brief time, how to better communicate their thoughts and feelings and how to relieve tension in those hard to reach spots with self-massage.
Studies have shown that the overriding benefit of programs designed to benefit the Caregiver are only as successful as the bonds formed by the participating caregivers attending the program. The sense of aloneness and isolation that Caregivers experience can only be mitigated when others share their stories, their heartache and successes; NSHF is proud to say that this was definitely achieved through our Caregiver Reset Program.
Pritzker Military Foundation
USS Midway Foundation
Kathleen Fountain, MSW
Diane Law, MA
Claire Schad, MT-BC
Ms. Virginia Beeson, RN, MSN, NEA