American Widow Project - Unifying the New Generation of Military Widows

The Problem

Since 2001, nearly 6,000 U.S. service members have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, around 88% under 35 years old. Around half of these service members were married, leaving an estimated 3,000 young military widows across our country. While the service members’ sacrifice is recognized and often revered, the struggle military widows endure on a daily basis is often misunderstood. Many move on from the tragedy leaving the spouse without support, others fail to recognize the sacrifice, and oftentimes the invisible wounds of military widows are simple disregarded. The American Widow Project addresses this glaring gap in understanding within our country and reaches out to this community of women. The American Widow Project's goal is to empower each widow to live life the way they did when their spouses were alive and ensure each hero’s legacy is not forgotten. I am simply a person that wanted to take my title as a military widow and be able to shout to the nation that not only is this a title of sacrifice, but also, most importantly, survival. My hero, Michael, gives me the strength and drive each day to ensure that no military widow is left behind.

Plan of Action

To ensure the American Widow Project can sustain and provide the level of support that each military widow deserves, it is imperative for us to expand. As we continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly necessary to hire staff to help facilitate more events throughout the country, with the capability of creating regional representatives to triple our outreach from years past. As a 100% volunteer run organization with only one full time dedicated individual and a few part time volunteers, the responsibility for the daily operations of the organization require additional resources and staff to mitigate and delegate the workload to keep up with the pace of this growing community. The amount of time it takes to plan and execute events, answer widow emails and phone calls, media requests, prepare and mail packages, update the AWP Website and also keep up with daily postings on the Facebook page is far too great for anyone to shoulder alone and requires a collaborative effort to maintain the quality of support needed by so many. In addition, we need help reaching out to all military widows to make them aware of this vital service that is available to them. As of today, we’ve just scratched the surface reaching 1/3 of this generation’s military widows who are desperate for support and the knowledge that there are others out there on the same journey. There are too many young military widows in our society who are unaware of the support available and it is our goal to make sure no widow is left behind suffering this tremendous loss alone. For the immediate future, we expect to experience continuing growth, not only in the number of widows we serve, but also in the magnitude of programs and quality of services that we manage. To expand our services and to create and implement additional physical and online support material, we need more helping hands and financial support to provide the level of care that each widow deserves.

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