Since 2001, our country has deployed 2.7 million personnel. Over 50% of those have deployed twice and a large percentage of those have deployed three and more times. Warriors are coming home changed by their experiences and are unable to “pick up where they left off”. Spouses are finding themselves alone and exhausted by the constant instability of this new reality while the children are often left to find their own way.
Living Free Together is attempting to honestly address the unintended cost of war and the value of healing. It is a unique and effective program that seeks to create a community in which genuine healing can take root and grow. Charlottesville has a large and growing veteran community; however, there is no base and very few veteran services are offered to these families. Living Free Together began as a nontraditional, nonreligious expression of support between the American Legion Post #74 and Chestnut Grove Church. With the support of the Charlottesville civilian and veteran community, LFT has grown into its own non profit and is now the largest active military family organization in the area.
Living Free is committed to providing active, non-active & retired patriot families with the life skills and support necessary to face their next BIG adventure in life together.
A letter from our director
A LETTER FROM OUR DIRECTOR
Not too long ago I would have said that Charlottesville is NOT a military town. However, I am better informed now. It does not take long to uncover the fact that Charlottesville is home to 1000s of active duty and retired military families from all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Our beautiful geographic location, quality of life and proximity to numerous military bases has made Charlottesville a prime place for our former service personnel and veterans to settle down to build their lives and grow their families.
This is wonderful for Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. Military families are uniquely gifted to add value to any community they find themselves in; however, it can be difficult for these families to integrate and feel “at home” since there is no central base and few services for veterans and military families. One of our participants said it best when she said, “Military families struggle with the usual family issues and some unusual issues due to the strain of service during this time of war. We often feel forgotten in Charlottesville.”
It is the belief of Living Free Together that no military family who has sacrificed so much for our country should feel forgotten. All of our workshops and events are intended to celebrate each family as they are and to encourage them to grow and to become the thriving families that they can be. When asked about the impact that Living Free Together has had on her family, one mom shared, “Living Free Together is the only time my family has to focus on our family and our future. The programs are always fun and my kids leave so happy. Living Free Together reminds my family that their sacrifices were not for nothing.”
Thanks to donations and partnerships with various local groups of our proud military town such as: The BAMA Grant Foundation, FlyDog Yoga, Chestnut Grove Church, The American Legion Post 74, Wildrock, Black Belt Success Academy and Parade Rest’s 4 Our Freedom 5K; Living Free Together has been offering five plus years of FREE care and support to the military community of Charlottesville. All active and inactive military personnel and their families are welcome anytime and in any form. All participants are encouraged to bring friends and to tell other military families about this enriching opportunity.
War is hard. Coming home well can be harder. Going it alone is devastating. Growing stronger alongside those who know these truths is life giving. Don't miss out on being a part of this unusual expression of community. Find out how you can participate today!
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