Project Aims to Help Vets Rebuild Connections

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2007 - Deployment to a war zone can exact a unique toll on not only those in imminent danger but also their loved ones back home. One group, however, is working to lessen these effects.

"We build a safe space, a community for veterans and their families to come together and share their stories, struggles and accomplishments," said Dr. Joseph Bobrow, director of the "Coming Home Project." "Our programs address the mental, emotional, spiritual and relationship challenges faced by veterans and families before, during and after deployment."

The San Francisco organization, which is devoted to providing compassionate care and support for veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, is made up of veterans, psychotherapists, and interfaith leaders, he said. These individuals offer workshops and retreats as well as psychological counseling by licensed therapists for veterans and family members. The group also offers training and advice for caregivers.

All programs are free and confidential, Bobrow said.

"The intention of the Coming Home Project is to serve veterans and families and contribute to their well-being and healing," he said. "We are creating new ways of thinking about and new models for helping transform the invisible injuries of war.

"Our retreats really do create a safe, welcoming, unconditionally supportive space for veterans and families to offer and receive support, share resources and open up the process of transforming the invisible wounds of service," Bobrow added.

Besides reaching out to veterans and families, the organization also is reaching out to groups in other areas that share its goals. Two such groups are the North County San Diego Marriage and Family Therapists Association and Operation Homefront's Wounded Warrior Wives. Both groups have invited the organization to provide training for their members.

The project also works directly with veterans centers on referrals and is exploring offering retreats for family members in conjunction with Navy and Marine Corps chaplaincy services.

Both the Coming Home Project and Operation Homefront are supporters of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Bobrow said he hopes his organization's relationship with the Defense Department program will afford it exposure in the military community and networking opportunities beyond what it already has experienced with Operation Homefront.

"Letting our (servicemembers) and their families know about what we offer is important," Bobrow said. "Letting related organizations and individuals know is also important as we develop strategic partnerships and collaborations that can benefit our efforts to serve our veterans."

*Related Sites:*
Coming Home Project  [ ]
Operation Homefront  [ ]
Project Aims to Help Vets Rebuild Connections [ ]