We accomplish our mission through providing a week-long retreat for veterans and their support partners. We believe that the support partner is impacted by PTSS from being around the veteran. We treat them both through experiential education, counseling, equine therapy and stress reduction activities. Does it work? From the twelve VFR retreats thus far in Texas, the results average of 50-60 percent reduction in PTSS levels. During those twelve retreats, fourteen married veteran couples renewed their wedding vows before the end of the retreat. Ten veterans and participants without hope, threw away their suicide intentions/plans to accept a renewed hope and a future through what they learned during the VFR retreat. During the Retreat, the participants are given over 60 tools that help them come down from triggering episodes and communicate more effectively. This leads to improved family life and becoming a more productive citizen of the community.
Current needs of VFR are funding for veterans and their partners to attend a retreat. The retreat costs are $3,995 - $4675 per couple to produce, depending on the location. Yet it is free for the veteran and support partner. We keep the retreats small for a reason. People are more apt to discuss their problems in small groups. 10-12 veterans and 10-12 support partners participate in Experiential Education seminars. Smaller peer groups provide even more opportunities to share problems and receive peer support. Participants are provided lodging, meals, and counseling with Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), Facilitators and licensed professionals providing the various alternative modalities to assist in relaxation and stress reduction. Reduction in stress allows the participant to absorb more of the retreat key healing opportunities and thus reduce the grip of PTSS. We hope to have two VFR Retreats this year at a total cost of $30,000 - $35,000 per retreat.