Bringing Women Veterans Together
Swords to Plowshares is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The nonprofit organization has been around to promote and protect veterans’ rights since 1974. All veterans regardless of discharge status, length of service, branch or dates of service are eligible for services at Swords to Plowshares. From there, a general intake is administered to identify the veteran’s needs.
Swords to Plowshares has an enormous list of services they provide. This list includes assistance in providing free job training and employment assistance, transitional and permanent supportive housing, and case management to homeless and low-income veterans in need of substance abuse and mental health counseling. In addition, they offer free legal help in processing VA claims and appeals, as well as military discharge upgrade reviews. Their referral services include connecting veterans to community-based resources, as well as within the VA system.
Equally important to note is that they have an entire program dedicated to serving women veterans through outreach, direct services and more. Through this exceptional program is an exemplary annual event, SHOUT! Celebrating Women Veterans Through the Arts, designed to bring women veterans back together within their community. Back in May, the three-day event consisted of a film screening of My Mom’s a Soldier, an art exhibit by for and about women veterans, and a variety of healing arts workshops.
By using art as a form of expression, it allows women to visually communicate things that may be difficult to say in words. It gives women the chance to meet each other locally while supporting each other through a unique intersection of community and the arts.-Starlyn Lara, Women Veterans Coordinator U.S. Army 1995-2007, Iraq Veteran
To continue the momentum and experience of these annual events, they started holding art-related events throughout the year. They’ve paired up with best-selling author, Mary-Rose Hayes, and are currently offering a series of free and ongoing creative writing workshops for women veterans of all eras. It’s a wonderful opportunity you don’t want to miss. Please contact Starlyn Lara, Women Veterans Coordinator and Army veteran, for more information.
This is just a glimpse into what Swords to Plowshares has to offer. Check out their website for more information. If you’re not local, they may still be able to help you find what you’re looking for through their vast network of resources.