Monday, April 21, 2014
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Welcome to Grace's Garden

Grace's Garden is a place for women veterans to connect with one another.

Grace After Fire is carrying the word that the silent wounds of being a woman service member, in war and in peace time, does not have to be experienced alone. Many of our members here have experienced tragedy. We never leave a soldier behind, even after service. When women hurt, women help - women veterans help women veterans. Grace's Garden has been created by Grace After Fire for women veterans to offer a safe haven and confidential venue – a social network. Women can share common experiences and offer unique peer support for wellness.

Women as a whole are naturally resilient, strong, enduring, and nurturing. Not all women veterans have been hurt, whether silently or physically. Many of the women veterans that come to our sites may be experiencing difficulties with the VA services. Grace's Garden provides an opportunity to reach out to sister veterans and offer a hand, an ear, a story of support, and direction to wellness – together. Here, women veterans share experience, strength, and hope for a strong and bright future for ourselves, and our friends and family.

What does it mean to be a member of Grace's Garden?

It is a chance to honor yourself as a woman who has ever been a servicemember, and honor those that have served before and after you.

Grace's Garden is a distinctive online community where women veterans will have the opportunity to share laughter, tears, and strength with others who know what they have been through, while remaining anonymous.

Here you will find women veterans with great resiliency and those that could use your hand in help. Together, we can discover untapped resources and relate to one another on the various issues our women veteran too often faced both during and after their service.

Whether we are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, military sexual trauma, marital issues, reintegration challenges or depression, Grace's Garden is a safe haven for women vets, 24/7.

Here are just a few of the benefits of our social network:

  • Connect with other women veterans
  • Post comments on your wall and the walls of others
  • Participate in groups
  • Blogs
  • Private messaging
  • Share photos
  • Share videos

Women Veterans Health Program

Women Veterans Health Care

The Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group (Women's Health) provides programmatic and strategic support to implement positive changes in the provision of care for all women Veterans.

In 1988, the Women Veterans Health Program was created to streamline services for women Veterans in order to provide more cost-effective medical and psychosocial care. At that time 4.4 percent of Veterans were women. The current projected percentage of U.S. Veterans who are women is 8 percent. For the most recent projections, visit VetPOP.

The Women Veterans Health Program was elevated to a Strategic Health Care Group within the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards in 2007, increasing its scope of activities to include all services provided to women Veterans. VA is actively addressing resource needs so that the proper training, as well as equipment and supplies (including DEXA scans, mammography machines, ultra-sound and biopsy equipment) are in place in facilities.

Program Mission

Women Veterans Health Care addresses the health care needs of women Veterans and works to ensure that timely, equitable, high-quality, comprehensive health care services are provided in a sensitive and safe environment at VA health facilities nationwide. We strive to be a national leader in the provision of health care for women, thereby raising the standard of care for all women.

To fulfill this mission, Women Veterans Health Care works to make certain that all eligible women Veterans requesting VA care are assured of:

Comprehensive primary care by a proficient and interested primary care providerPrivacy, safety, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needsThe right care in the right place and timeState-of-the-art health care equipment and technologyHigh-quality preventive and clinical care, equal to that provided to male Veterans

Caregiver Support

 
The Department of Veterans Affairs is implementing a telephone support program to help the spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, after a pilot support program showed a significant reduction in stress for spouses. Returning to civilian life after living in constant combat readiness can be a shocking transition, and it is the immediate family, the spouses and children, who bear that br...unt of the transition with those who served.

The spouse telephone support program, which is part of the VA's Caregiver Support Program, builds spouses' ability to cope with the challenges that reintegration to civilian society can bring, helps them serve as a pillar of support for returning veterans, and eases the transition for families after deployments. Spouses in the pilot program reported decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, with an increase in social support.

Spouses participated in 12 telephone support groups over six months. The focus is on problem solving and communications, relationships, mental health and resilience. A trained, nationwide team of VA medical center staff members, including many caregiver support coordinators, will lead the support groups.

Typical issues spouses and veterans face after deployment include communication difficulties, the need to renegotiate family roles and responsibilities and the added stress of combat related injury. Spouses of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have reported feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious and frustrated.

The program is based on research by the Memphis VA Medical Center and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Researchers developed and studied interventions for family members of veterans and military personnel. Their work with spouses of post deployed and deployed military personnel is funded through the Defense Health Program, managed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

Providing support to family caregivers is the right thing for the VA to do. A simple series of phone calls can do so much good. Certainly those who fought for our nation and the spouses who allowed them to make the sacrifice deserve this support. The more support we can provide to the family, the better the outcome will be for our veterans.

The VA has a Web page, www.caregiver.va.gov, with general information on spouse telephone support and other caregiver support programs available through the VA and the community. For additional information contact your state and local veterans representatives. In our area contact Robin Greer at 817-573-4282 or Lee Downs at 940-325-2998.

Looking for Women Veterans in the Birmingham AL area

HFHI sponsors an annual leadership conference to provide training and support for Habitat's AmeriCorps National Service / VISTA members from across the country.   To ensure the VISTAs get a good grounding for their service year, HFHI scheduled a four-hour intensive training session for the VetCorps VISTAs on Thursday October 27. 

 The agenda:

>1:00-2:00 - HFHI Veteran Initiative background, Q&A (Christopher Ptomey)

>2:00-3:30 – "I Support Vets" presentation on military culture and today's veteran (ISV)

>3:45-4:30 - Panel discussion:  "How to establish relationships with veterans & the community"

>4:30-5:00 - Q&A and closing

 Conference location:

Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center
1314 Shocco Springs Road
Talladega, Alabama 35160
1.800.280.1105

If there are any female veterans that have an interest in being part of the panel - that are in the area - please contact Kimberly Martin at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or office: (202) 239-4439.

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