Resilience Grows Here (RGH) is a veteran’s mental health initiative centered around a community garden that creates an environment that builds and supports relationships between veterans and families, while building resilience in men and boys. Veterans return to communities not programs; so we have a duty to meet them where they are. RGH is an innovative program that utilizes peer mentors to provide ongoing focus on building the healthy attributes of resilience for veterans in a nonthreatening and nontraditional environment. The aim of the program is to draw veterans out of themselves, to take pride in a project and to see the impact that it has on the broader community – focusing on what is possible instead of impossible. Veterans will be involved in the planning and project implementation with a committee of volunteers. Using peer mentors will assist in shaping the conversations to focus on problem solving and successes while helping to re-frame challenges into lessons. The creation of a ‘safe space’ for veterans and their families helps shift the social norms and a targeted education campaign will assist in re shaping the lens through which the community views our veterans and mental health.
Who We Serve
Resilience Grows Here is a project that targets both the active and retired veterans in East Granby, as well as their families. The long term aim is to integrate veterans and families from the 10 towns of the Farmington Valley into the initiative. According to the 2015 Department of Veterans Affairs projected population, the Farmington Valley falls within the densest veteran populations in CT with 11,851 – 314,667 veterans in the 10 towns. . There are no direct veterans’ services within the Farmington Valley. Local services are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, American Legion, National Alliance on Mental Illness and some additional services that address job seeking and homelessness within the veteran populations. Most of these services are located in Hartford or New Britain. Transportation poses an enormous problem as there are no public transportation services in the town and taxi services are sparse and expensive.
Why We Do This
In 2014, the Prevention Institute and the Movember Foundation prepared a report on the mental health and well-being of men and boys in the United States. Based on the information in this report, Resilience Grows Here was developed. To read the 2014 report, click here.