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News from the Front

Heroes’ Voices continues to wage war on Post Traumatic Stress and other health challenges related to military service.

For the last six years, Heroes’ Voices has been touching the lives of thousands of veterans with the healing power of music and poetry.

In the past year:

  • We began new programming at San Quentin State Prison.
  • We continued our music and poetry workshops with vets at the Livermore VA and the San Francisco County Jail.
  • We continued weekly “Guitar Corps” programs at the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building.
  • We initiated new programming at the San Bruno VA Clinic.
  • We expanded our cooperative program at the Redwood Vet Center in Eureka, CA to include psychology faculty and students at Humboldt State University.

Our national outreach continues to grow after the third annual National Veterans Poetry Contest, produced in cooperation with George Mason University and the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas, Virginia. In 2019 we received 265 submissions from veterans in 36 states, a significant increase from last year.

In June, we presented the third annual performance of The Soldiers Journey in San Francisco, featuring music and public readings of the winning veteran’s poems.

On November 10th there will be an east coast performance of The Soldiers Journey at George Mason University’s Hylton Center in Manassas, VA.

These performances give veterans the opportunity to inspire audiences on both coasts. Theyfacilitate many healing interactions. And they inspire appreciative audiences.

For the last two years, George Mason University has published chap books featuring the semi-final and finalist poems submitted for the National Veterans Poetry Contest. They are currently in the process of publishing the 2019 chap book which should be ready for distribution early next year.

Chap books are available upon request, while supplies last. You can also read the winning poems at www.heroesvoices.org/poetry. We continue to work with our partner George Mason University and look forward to improving and expanding the National Veterans Poetry Contest for 2020.

We need your help to continue helping our veterans. As we commemorate Veterans Day, please consider helping those who have sacrificed so much for us.

In one of our programs that serves senior veterans, two participants were not elderly, but suffered from Parkinson’s. One, named Allen, was very shy. He spoke in a barely-audible voice, but he loved singing songs by Simon and Garfunkel. Every week I would bring in lyric sheets and Allen’s face would light up while, with his tremulous voice, he would lead us all in a new Simon and Garfunkel song.

One day after several months of sessions, Allen slowly walked me out of the VA facility. He told me that until recently the Parkinson’s had completely compromised his voice and that he had been unable to speak. When he started coming to the Heroes’ Voices music sessions, he discovered that singing helped him to speak again.

As we reached to door we paused and Allen said, “Thank you for giving me back my voice.”

Please help us continue to fight this battle against PTSD and help us give voice to our veterans through the healing gift of music. Make your donation now at www.heroesvoices.org/donate.