An estimated 1 out of every 5 Female Veterans have experienced Military Sexual Trauma. 9 out of every 10 suffers from PTSD. Female Veterans are 2 1/2 more likely than non-veterans to commit suicide. There are an estimated 3,600 Female Veterans that are homeless. As women we need to support each other and as a country we need to support our Female Veterans.
“Veteran Sisters” is a nationwide 501(c)3 non-profit organization that recognizes the unique challenges facing our nation’s Female Veterans. Our goal is to ensure that no Female Veteran faces these challenges alone.
“Veteran Sisters” is also working towards bridging the gap between Female Veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We are a peer to peer support and advocacy organization. We connect Female Veterans with the benefits they have earned. Our goal is that Female Veterans know they are NOT alone while going through this process of life after the military. It is a very challenging process for any veteran but especially females. Many of our sisters have said that when it comes to filing for their benefits or researching services, it was beneficial to have a trusted friend guide them through the process. We are unique in this market because WE walk the journey with them. We are their Battle Buddy, their Companion, and their Advocate. Our focus is in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Depression, Anxiety, and other Disabilities brought on by their military service.
My name is Paula Kemp, I am the Founder and President of “Veteran Sisters.” I was a combat photographer who served in the United States Naval Reserves from 1998-2006, stationed in San Diego, California. I am very proud of my military service. However, after my experience in the Middle East, and being raped during my service, I am now a disabled veteran living with PTSD and MST.
While sharing stories with other Female Veterans about the horrors of going through the VA claims process alone, is when I founded “Veteran Sisters.” Because of my experience with filing my own VA claim I learned Female Veterans have unique needs that I felt the VA was not equipped to deal with properly. However, I do acknowledge that the VA is working hard to reach Female Veterans, but unfortunately it is still a predominantly male-oriented system.
Veteran Sisters is looking to establish a “walk-in” facility called “Veteran Sisters Operation Wellness”. Built upon an, atmosphere where women feel welcomed, safe, and acknowledged. There will be private offices, class rooms for group discussions, programs and educational events. Our facility would have a warm and nurturing atmosphere along with Female Veteran camaraderie.
We are here to raise $200,000. The money raised will cover rent for the facility, supplies needed for programs, utilities, computers, and printers. Once we are established for three years, we will qualify for larger, stable grants, and long-term funding to continue “Veteran Sisters Operation Wellness” into the future. We will also be soliciting sponsors and partners to join us.
There are some wonderful and well-established veteran facilities and organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW.) However, they are traditionally geared towards male veterans. Female Veterans are welcomed there, but, Veteran Sisters need a place that embraces the Female Veteran. That place is “Veteran Sisters Operation Wellness”.
For more information please visit our website www.veteransisters.org facebook.com/veteran-sisters-we-know-you-served you can also find us on Instagram and Twitter.
Suzanne Tibbetts Baeza
Fundraising team: Re-Think Veteran, She Served Too! (7)