The military provides world-class medical care for injured service members. But sometimes gaps open up between the support the military can provide, and the support the injured and their families need.
The Yellow Ribbon Fund helps fill the gaps throughout the recovery process, from hospital to hometown.
Whether they’re recovering in the Washington, DC, area at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, or back in their home communities, YRF provides real support for real heroes.
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VETERAN & FAMILY PROGRAMS
When a service member is injured, a family member or close friend leaves home to come help with the recovery, often for a year or longer. YRF’s FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM has pioneered support for caregivers. We’re still one of the only service organizations to offer childcare and family-oriented activities, plus stress-relieving massages and spa visits, mutually supportive dinners out, and more — all at no charge.
We also provide free HOTEL ROOMS for visiting relatives desperate to be at the side of their injured loved ones.
We provide free RENTAL CARS and TAXI RIDES to give them some freedom and control at a time when they control very little.
As injured service members recover and become outpatients, we provide free, furnished APARTMENTS for families who otherwise would have to endure the added stress of separation or crowding into a hotel room.
Meanwhile, after a life-changing injury, our innovative MENTORING PROGRAM helps injured service members start planning for the future, with education and career guidance, networking, and job shadowing that opens doors.
Yellow Ribbon Fund volunteers and donors also make it possible for the injured and their families to enjoy sporting and cultural events, tours, outings, and get-togethers. Combined with those of the Family Caregiver Program, we organize MORE THAN 100 ACTIVITIES every year.
These events are more than just fun — they’re an important part of the healing process. YRF activities offer stress-reducing breaks from the grueling rigors of recovery, while reducing isolation, nurturing family relationships, facilitating mutual support, and building confidence.
After injured veterans return home, our AMBASSADOR PROGRAM connects them with volunteers all over the country. These “ambassadors” provide one-on-one support to help them build new lives and ensure no one falls through gaps in community safety nets. If needed, ambassadors can even refer veterans and their families to YRF-funded legal services.(Read the Ambassador Program brochure.)
Veterans facing more complex issues receive additional support from YRF’s WELLNESS PROGRAM. Our staff social worker help empower them to find short- and long-term solutions to financial, physical, emotional, legal, and family challenges. Financial problems and post-traumatic stress are the top two issues facing those in need.
We’re also building a supportive community of veterans in partnership with Blue Titan Fitness of Rockaway, NJ. The veteran athlete ambassadors on YRF’s TAKING UP FITNESS (TUF) TEAM have personally experienced the healing power of community fitness, and now inspire and mentor their fellow vets. (Visit the TUF Team website.)
In addition, our FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM continues to provide support to the caregivers of injured veterans after they return home. Retreats and outings for mutual support, VA guidance, scholarships, and career mentoring help caregivers adapt to their new role.
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“YRF bus brings together military & civilian”
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Veteran & Family Programs:
“Little Heroes Ball salutes wounded warrior kids”
One day Teresa Brimm was recovering at Walter Reed. The next, she was astride the Harley of a new friend.
It started when the wheelchair-accessible bus pulled up first at Ft Belvoir Community Hospital south of Washington, DC, then at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just north of the city. Teresa, her fellow injured service members, and their families all climbed aboard for the ride out into the Maryland countryside.
Destination: The Wounded Warrior Picnic and Fishing Tournament at White’s Ferry.
The Yellow Ribbon Fund supplied the bus. The people of Poolesville, Md., through their Poolesville Military Support Group, provided the amazing day. The group works all year to get ready for the annual event.
As the YRF bus passed through Poolesville, motorcycle escorts joined the entourage. The streets were lined with men, women, and children waving flags.
Then it was on to White’s Ferry…
…where they spent the day fishing, barbecuing, and making new friends on the banks of the Potomac River. Most Americans don’t personally know an injured veteran, so events like this help build bridges between the military and civilian communities. Those connections are especially important when injured veterans and their families return to their hometowns and begin rebuilding their lives.
It was a world away from the hospital, and a welcome break from the hard work of recovering from the wounds of war.
The day was so idyllic that during the bus ride back to Walter Reed and Ft Belvoir, one of the service members said he’d love to move to Poolesville when he finishes his outpatient treatment.
The Poolesville Military Support Group raised funds during the event, and will be making a donation to the Yellow Ribbon Fund and Fisher House.
Is your organization or business interested in partnering with YRF? Contact Ashley Keene by email or at 240-223-1880.
They danced. They ate cupcakes. They made crowns and danced some more.
But this was much more than just another children’s party. These children all have a parent who’s an injured service member.
They’ve often stepped up to help care for their wounded mom or dad. According to a recent study, the experience makes them more resilient and compassionate than other children. But it can also leave them angry and frustrated.
So the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s Family Caregiver Program organizes events and activities that give them a chance to just be kids, while nurturing their family relationships. At YRF’s latest Little Heroes Ball near Ft Campbell, nearly 100 children and parents turned out for dinner and dancing, with gifts to commemorate the occasion.
Thanks to Spalding, each child took home an over-the-door basketball hoop and basketball…
…each caregiver mom received jewelry donated by the Gold Factory in Clarksville, Tenn…
…and photographers April Padgett and Elizabeth Elliott were on hand to provide complimentary family portraits.
Thirty-seven volunteers helped make it all happen, including students from Clarksville Academy, which joined the Yellow Ribbon Fund in co-hosting the Ball. Our heartfelt appreciation goes to:
Christian County Senior Center
Clarksville Academy CBL group “Army Strong”
Four Seasons Catering
Operation Ward 57
Pennyrile Allied Community Service
Photographers April Padgett & Elizabeth Elliott
Retired & Senior Volunteer Program
Enjoy these photos from the event, then read The Washington Post article to learn more about the challenges facing the children of injured service members.