On Veteran’s Day, Saturday, November 11th, students of the Institute for Advanced Media’s (IAM) Project Management seminar gathered for “Helping Heroes” – an event aimed at promoting the health and well-being of United States Armed Forces members. The students who conceived, planned, and organized the event are all military veterans who saw the gathering as an opportunity to give back to their fellow service members.
“Helping Heroes” was the culmination of weeks of planning by the Project Management seminar members. Students enrolled in the seminar study to take exams for one of two Project Management Institute credentials – the Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM) or Project Management Professional (PMP). Instructors Anne Marie Burke and Kevin Riley charged students with creating an event to demonstrate the principles outlined in the seminar.
The event was held in the CPBN Learning Lab. Vendors from veteran-affiliated organizations presented food, clothing, services, and educational information geared specifically to benefit service members. Veterans, their families, community members, and CPBN staff, including President & CEO Jerry Franklin and his wife Ida, attended to support the effort.
“This type of event is ideal for our organization to spread the word about the work we do, to tell as many veterans and service members that we offer these services and are here to help them.” remarked Latonya Harts, representative from the Veteran’s Healthcare Administration for Suicide Prevention. Harts noted that such events often create a dialogue between veterans and organizations that provide much needed services for them. “[Helping Heroes] sounds like something that, if it could be done every year, we would definitely be interested in coming to support.” added Harts.
Included in the free event were several activities, aimed at relieving stress and encouraging healthy lifestyles. In one secluded classroom, yoga instructors Carol Peckham, Anna Guarco, and John Oliver led groups through poses as a fellow volunteer lightly strummed an acoustic guitar. In another, massage therapist Lenese Robinson and Farrah Kaeser from Reiki for Vets administered sessions.
With many activities focusing on maintaining positive mental health, one vendor in particular stressed the importance of staying active. “Motion is lotion!” said a beaming Jennifer Walker, physical therapist from the West Haven VA. “It’s very important as we get older to keep our mobility – whether that’s just walking every day, getting out 20-30 minutes to just try and build some strength and improve your flexibility. I hope that people take away the importance of movement in their lifestyle and know that that we are here for them as physical therapists if they ever are injured or have some sort of difficulties where they lose some of their independence”.
One room was designated for drawing, coloring, and other therapeutic forms of art. Noting the power of art in helping veterans as a creative outlet, representative from Veteran’s Therapy Thru Art, Harold Grimes, reflected on the organization’s impact on individuals. “Some people come up to us and say ‘I’m so glad I came today, you guys made my day.’ And when we hear it over and over again, that makes us feel good. That shows us that people think we’re doing good work and it’s really making a difference in their everyday lives.”
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About the CPBN Learning Lab
As part of a partnership with Hartford Public Schools, CPBN offers a satellite campus and afterschool internships – focused on video production, editing and digital arts – for high school students from Hartford’s Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School. For adults interested in pursuing a media career or simply interested in gaining technical skills to advance in their already established fields, CPBN’s Institute for Advanced Media provides classes in the basics of video production, from pre-production to post-production, as well as equipment and technical skills. CPBN also offers a range of opportunities to college students through the CPBN Media Lab, with classes focusing on storyboarding, video production, web content creation and social media.