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Team RWB Is Making A Difference In Veterans’ Lives And Here’s Proof
On the surface, the veterans I exercise with in the gym or on the running trail appear to be doing great. But in quiet moments, sometimes between breaths on a treadmill, or unloading a barbell, core truths are revealed: It isn’t always easy. Memories are painful, and emotions are raw. They have stories to tell that require an audience.
Even as a civilian, I see how important it is for veterans to be able to authentically connect with others through physical fitness and social activities, foster new friendships, and build stronger support networks. Those experiences help me appreciate the impact of Team Red, White & Blue.
While Team RWB welcomes not just veterans but also active-duty military, military families, and civilians, helping veterans reintegrate and prosper after their service has remained at the core of its mission.
This week, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University published “Enriching Veterans' Lives Through An Evidence Based Approach,” which I co-authored as Team RWB’s research director. The report, built upon a survey completed by 4,300 Team RWB veterans in 2014 and 2015, uses Team RWB as a case study to highlight the importance of collecting data to measure impact so that military and veterans organizations can provide programs and services that not only feel good, but that actually achieve quantifiable results.
So what do the report and survey tell us about Team RWB’s quantifiable results?
Building community and relationships is important.
Survey results show that 86% of Team RWB’s most active veteran members make lasting positive relationships and 90% feel a greater sense of belonging to a larger community. This is at the core of why Team RWB exists: to help people make close friends and relationships that can even feel like family. This is really important for getting information about resources and knowing people who can help with the little challenges or life-altering problems, but it often boils down to having someone to talk to whenever you need.
Achieving mental and physical health improvements is easier with a team.
Nearly two-thirds of the most active veterans in Team RWB report maintaining a healthier weight, and more than 50% report feeling less down, depressed, or hopeless, as well as feeling less nervous, anxious or on edge. It’s no secret that exercise makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. Whether you are seeking weight loss, a boost in mood, or a chance to set new goals, being part of a team and having the opportunity to exercise as part of a group makes that easier to do.
It can lead to satisfaction at home and work.
Nearly three-quarters of the most active veteran members report that being part of Team RWB improves their mood and in turn helps them become a better family member. Approximately 40% also report feeling less stressed and being more engaged at work. The positive effects that come from being engaged with a close-knit, supportive community also spill into other areas of life. When you feel better after a workout, or even after a meaningful conversation, your whole outlook on the world can improve.
There is a reduction in the civilian-military divide.
It’s not easy to transition out of military service, especially when you live in a community that is not near a major military installation. Civilians like myself may not automatically understand all that you have been and are still going through, which is why participation by both veterans and civilians in Team RWB creates an important common ground. Approximately 30% of Team RWB members are civilians, and in part due to the diverse membership base of Team RWB, the most active veterans report that being part of the team has helped them demonstrate their strengths (82%), share their challenges (70%) and feel more connected (53%) to civilians.
Repetition amplifies results.
Crucially, the benefits reported by veterans participating in Team RWB activities and chapters accrued most heavily and consistently to those who showed up regularly and made the team part of their lives. Increased involvement with Team RWB among veterans correlated closely with a significant increase in all beneficial results reported.
I believe in Team RWB’s mission, and clearly the model resonates: Team RWB just surpassed 100,000 members, spread across 172 chapters and communities. But having the evidence to show that the organization is helping improve the physical and mental health of veterans, and adapting programs, services, and research to ensure that those results are replicable, is a huge deal, and one that I hope serves as both a model and inspiration for similar veteran and military organizations seeking to pursue evidence-based practices.
Navy SEAL and Marine Raider could get life in prison if convicted of murdering Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar
A Navy SEAL and Marine Raider charged with murder face a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole now that they will have to appear before general courts-martial for their alleged roles in the death of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, the Navy announced on Friday.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Tony Dedolph and U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madero-Rodriguez have been charged with felony murder and other offenses, a Navy Region Mid-Atlantic news release said. If convicted, the maximum penalty for murder also includes reduction in rank to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a punitive discharge.
What started as a wildly popular Facebook hoax titled Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us back in June has since morphed into a real live event. That's right, the long awaited day is upon us.
As of Friday morning, people have begun to make their way to the secret U.S. military installation in the Nevada desert in search of answers to the questions that plague us all: Are we alone in the universe? Is our government secretly hiding a bunch of aliens? Just how fast can I "Naruto run" past the base gate? And how far can we take a joke with the U.S. military?
The Marine Corps is loading up one of its experimental unmanned ground vehicle with a buttload of firepower.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is working on a prototype of its tracked Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) with a remote-controlled .50 caliber machine gun turret and a specialized launcher for kamikaze drones to accompany Marines in urban environments, Military.com reports.
An Air Force civilian has died at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a "non-combat related incident," U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced on Friday.
Jason P. Zaki, 32, died on Wednesday while deployed to the 609th Air Operations Center from the Pentagon, an AFCENT news release says.
At a time when taxpayer and foreign-government spending at Trump Organization properties is fueling political battles, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve unit stationed in South Florida hopes to hold an annual ball at a venue that could profit the commander in chief.
The unit is planning a gala to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Marines' founding at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 16, according to a posting on the events website Evensi.