First Lady lauds The Soldiers Project/Sacramento | Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama honored The Soldiers Project/Sacramento and 19 other non-profit organizations that support military families at a White House ceremony April 11.
The event, which drew military leaders and political dignitaries from across the country, celebrated the first anniversary of the Joining Forces Community Challenge, a call to action established last year by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.
“The outpouring of support that we have seen over this last year,” said Mrs. Obama, “I mean the hours logged, the services donated, the love and devotion and offers to help that have poured in from every corner of the country, all of that has far surpassed even our wildest expectations.”
Selected from among hundreds of nominees nationwide, The Soldiers Project/Sacramento was invited to attend the White House ceremony because of its best practice Family Ties program, which offers free mental health treatment in a group setting to military family members. Family Ties also provides a support network for military kin who need help finding financial, educational and career resources.
“Attending the Joining Forces event was not just an honor, but it was also a great opportunity to see how other charitable organizations are working to support military families,” said Carolyn Fink, clinical director of The Soldiers Project/Sacramento, who represented TSP along with media/communications consultant Becci Angell. “The time we spent in Washington allowed us to network and develop resources to better serve military families in the Sacramento region.”
In addition to Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden, U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and Moranda Hern, military daughter and founder of The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs, paid tribute to the 20 organizations that attended the April 11 event. They made note, however, that these 20 are representative of thousands of volunteers nationwide who are giving back daily in a wide variety of ways to help military families.
“If I had to sum up what we have seen since launching Joining Forces in one word, it would be ‘inspiring’,” said Dr. Biden. “These efforts aren’t always in the headlines, but they support our military families every single day in real and meaningful ways. That’s exactly what the First Lady and I set out to accomplish with Joining Forces.”
In her remarks, Dr. Biden announced that Joining Forces will announce a second challenge later this year. “We look forward to seeing more of the creative ways that Americans are giving back to our proud and brave military families,” she said.
Other dignitaries who attended the April 11 ceremony included Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the highest ranking senior non-commissioned officer in the U.S. armed forces, and J.R. Martinez, a severely wounded Iraq war veteran who is best known for winning last season’s “Dancing With the Stars,” among others.
In addition to The Soldiers Project/Sacramento, other charitable organizations honored April 11 include People’s Choice winner Our Family for Families First Foundation (Rhode Island); Armed Forces Service Center (Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport); Birdies for the Brave (Florida); Canines for Service (South Carolina); City of Richfield, Utah; Defending The Blue Line (Minnesota); Give an Hour (Washington, D.C.); Green Care for Troops (Minnesota); Hearts Apart (North Carolina); Luke’s Wings (Maryland); New Directions (Los Angeles); Operation Homelink (Chicago); Operation Wedding Gown (Massachusetts); Project Sanctuary (Colorado); Rebuild Hope (Menlo Park, Calif.); Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs (Clovis, Calif.); The Landings Military Family Relief Fund (Georgia); Tillman Military Scholars (Arizona); and Trees for Troops (Missouri).
Established eight years ago by psychotherapist Judith Broder, The Soldiers Project provides free, confidential, unlimited psychological therapy to military members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since the war began in 2004, as well as their family members.
The Sacramento unit of TSP currently fields about 45 volunteer therapists in eight counties and provided nearly 1,000 free hours of free therapy in 2011 to military members and their families.
For more information about The Soldiers Project/Sacramento or to register for Family Ties, call 877-557-5888 or email Sacramento@TheSoldiersProject.org