Helping veterans get their poems and stories down on paper is the goal of our volunteers. Volunteer writing aides work both one-on-one and with groups of patients to help them convert thoughts and feelings into stories and poems. VVWP volunteers work through the Volunteer Services and/or Recreation Therapy Services departments at the VA medical centers. Most VA medical centers are familiar with VVWP and our purpose and welcome volunteer assistance.
Contributions to the VVWP are used to publish Veterans’ Voices, a magazine devoted strictly to the writings of veterans, either as inpatients or outpatients of local VA facilities. The 64-page magazine is published three times a year (Spring-end of March, Summer-end of July and Fall-end of October) and provides these veterans with an outlet for national publication. Manuscripts are submitted to our national office by medical center staff; then volunteer editors review and select materials for publication. Forty-nine states are actively involved in our writing program through the VA medical centers.
In 1952, the late Margaret Sally Keach with the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Women in Communications established Veterans’ Voices to provide hospitalized veterans an outlet for their writing. What started as an outreach program for veterans returning from World War II has become a respected component of the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center recreation and rehabilitation program. Now, with the return of injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, the project is more important than ever.
It can mean so much to a hospitalized veteran when a story, poem or artwork is published in Veterans’ Voices magazine, proving again that love (and writing) is still the best medicine. Hospitalized veterans are looking for a helping hand to bolster their self-esteem, to make them proud to have served our country. These veterans, whatever their disabilities, need to know that while their service is interrupted, they are not forgotten. VVWP has gone to great lengths to instill in the hearts of veterans a pride of accomplishment, a reward for an endeavor well done. As long as men and women dream, Veterans’ Voices will be there to fulfill those dreams.
Please contact the VVWP office at 816-701-6844.
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