Help us to DE-CRUIT Veterans

DE-CRUIT®: treating trauma through Shakespeare and science. 

DE-CRUIT website
100% of all funds raised will go into the non-profit DE-CRUIT and will be used for this fall program.

The  program and how it works:
 Created by a military Veteran for miltary Veterans DE-CRUIT, at its core, is the process of interweaving narrative therapy with Veteran-related Shakespeare texts, applying stage skills to life-skills,  using state of-the-art therapeutic techniques from cognitive science and reconnecting Veterans with their families and their communtiy through performance. The program is scientifically evaluated by Dr. Ali of NYU, and Dr. Bruce Homer of CUNY through EEG’s (Electroencephalograms), Heart Coherence and psychological surveys.

·      The Immediate Plan...
Provide four courses (3 in NYC and 1 in Sartatoga Springs, beginning Sept 12th 2017. Each course runs 7 weeks, culminating in free performances for the communities the week of Oct 24-27, 2017 and avaiable through Veterans Day. 
     What Direct Results Will Come From Funding This?
· Directly improve the mental health and well being of up to 60 Veterans, and therefore their family and their community. Our preliminary data has shown dramatic, long-term improvement in mental health and well-being in Veterans who've been de-cruited.  ·    Create Veteran DE-CRUITERS (trainers) who can run their own DE-CRUIT courses in their own communities and make this a transferable model deliverable nationwide.·      60 Veterans will be employed, through stipends and salaries.  ·      Establish transferable pilot programs to serve as models for future cities from major metropolitan area (like NYC) to smaller communities (such as Saratoga Springs)·      Scientifically Evaluate data of the DE-CRUIT program by NYU and CUNY
·      Finalize data for publication of three separate studies within DE-CRUIT® for major scientific journals
     Why fund the DE-CRUIT® program?        
    The DE-CRUIT® program incorporates and implements the very components that are so often under-funded in the U.S.: Theater, Shakespeare, Science, and Veterans.
     Also, DE-CRUIT is not, a “one-off”. It is an investment in your communities Veterans, that has a long-lasting effect on their lives, the lives of their family and the community that they live in.
      On average, Veterans are more likely to: be addicted; receive harsher longer jail/prison sentences; be homeless; and commit suicide at a higher rate (20 per day). We have worked with, and continue to work with, over 500 Veterans. Among these DE-CRUIT® Veterans, those statistics are not true.
      Further, our phase one outcome data from a current study show that DE-CRUIT® significantly improved PTSD, depression and heart rate coherence. Currently we are conducting a randomized controlled trial of DE-CRUIT® using EEG (electroencephalogram) readings. Because we have manualized and scientifically evaluate DE-CRUIT®, our program is transferrable to any community.
     The ONLY way we can grow our program, continue to gather data and implement it nationally is through funding. 
The failure of the United States to adequately meet the mental health needs of its military veterans has been identified as a national crisis. Military Veterans are:
   -2-3 times more likely to commit suicide-- Twenty veterans commit suicide each day, a death rate that exceeds the number of combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
   -Experiencing rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) far exceeding those of the general population. And an over-reliance on pharmacological treatments, along with the isolation commonly experienced by returning veterans, is compounded by dominant treatment approaches which adopt an illness-focused model rather than focusing on sources of resilience within veterans’ various communities. After all, up to 68% of veterans drop out of clinical treatment for PTSD.
   -4-6 times more likely to be homeless.
   -More likely to be addicted, and receive harsher, longer prison sentences

Combining these numbers places over 41 percent of the U.S. population in direct connected to the fate of Veterans. That is, 128.5 million Americans, are directly affected by the moods, behavior and actions of military Veterans:
Los Angeles Councilman and Veteran Bill Rosendahl (center) presents Stephan Wolfert (left) and Keith Jeffries a Certificate of Appreciation from the LA City Council for thier work with Shakespeare for Veterans. (Summer 2010)

·      How Will The Funds Be Used?
[4 courses in 3 communities for over 60 Vets and at least 4-6 trained DE-CRUITERS/Trainers] 

TRAVEL (Car Rental for travel of trainers from NYC to Saratoga Springs)
$1,050 ($150 (approximately) per week X 7 weeks)

FOOD (for trainers while traveling)
$700 (approximate) ($ 50/day X 2 days/week X 7 weeks)  
$10,000 ($250/Veteran-participant X 40 Veterans)
$2,000 ($25/Veteran-Control group/Survey X 2 Surveys/Vet X 40 Veterans)
$1,000 ($250/Veteran-Instructor-In-Training X 4)

SUBTOTAL $14,750

STIPENDs for Primary Trainers
$13,000  ($7,000/monthX2 months. Based on two months of a $80,000/year salary based on an "average minimum salary" to survive in NYC)

Grand Total =             $28,750

"The painful paradox is that fighting for one's country can render one unfit to be its citizen." (Jonathan Shay, Achilles In Vietnam)
(NY Times Feature Article on my work with Shakespeare & Veterans)

When men and women enlist in the military they have a Recruiter. The Recruiter helps with every aspect of enlistment, preparing men and women for life in the military. During military service, they are provided with everything that they need; food, shelter, clothing, pay, support and training. Further, the military wires them for war. The military converts citizens into a soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. But when they exit the military, there is no De-Cruiter. There is no person to prepare them for life after the military; to help them leave the military behind and reintegrate into society.

"Men (and women) are recruited (for the military) at a psychologically malleable age. They are distanced from their enemy psychologically, taught to hate and dehumanize. They are given the threat of authority, the absolution and pressure of groups. Even then they are resistant and have trouble killing. They shoot in the air; they find nonviolent tasks to occupy them. And so they still need to be conditioned. The conditioning is astoundingly effective, but there is a psychological price to pay... Add to this the dissolution of the family. Children from all economic strata no longer have a censor, counsel, or role model at home. They turn to peers and authority figures... And then there are factors that provide psychological distance in our society. American society is increasingly divided along lines of race, gender, and sex. It has become compartmentalized..."

(Lt. Col. Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society)

"When violence against others results in injury (frequent from veterans suffering from unhealed combat trauma), society incurs the costs of medical care and lost productivity of the victims of this violence." (Jonathan Shay--Achilles In Vietnam)

50 percent of Vietnam combat veterans sampled in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study reported engaging in violent acts three or more times in the preceding year.

At present, there are 17,000 active-duty Army soldiers, the equivalent of three combat brigades, under arrest, in military prisons or under investigation. (If many of them are suffering from combat trauma, they’re probably not getting help.)

According to the Justice Department, Veterans, on average, receive harsher and longer jail/prison sentences. At least 10 percent of all males in prison are veterans (roughly 250,000), at an average annual cost of over $ 47,000 person incarcerated. Creating an annual cost of $11.75 billion dollars to imprison military Veterans. 

Psychologist Jonathan Shay, in his book Achilles In Vietnam offers that "Recovery from severe combat trauma more nearly resembles training to run a marathon than cathartic redemption in faith healing... we don’t expect athletes to perform without training so why would expect Veterans to return from military service or survivors of trauma to recover without training. Further, Shay offers “Virtually all treatment methods direct the survivor to construct a personal narrative at some time in his or her recovery...". He suggests: "... a mix of formal social ceremony and informal telling of the story with feeling to socially connected others who do not let the survivor go through it alone". DE-CRUIT, using the principles of theater, guides Veterans through training to de-condition the military training, while building new, healthy habits as well as a new sense of well-being, self-respect, confidence, and satisfaction.
I hope you'll help us help others. 
-Stephan Wolfert
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