Fellow Friday – Christina Monroe
Christina Monroe first saw the Team Red, White & Blue Eagle during a race in South Bend, IN when a motivated group of members in the famous “red shirts” ran by. As she watched the team members run side-by-side, she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of Team RWB. Monroe didn’t realize then how much Team RWB would improve not only her mental health through a focus on physical and social activity, but also the health of her friends and family.
“I found a community within Team RWB that has changed my life for the better. I have found my passion and strive to share it with my community. Team RWB helps me feel like I belong to something bigger. That’s why I love Team RWB. Whether you’re a veteran or civilian, there’s a place for you,” said Monroe.
When Monroe first joined Team RWB South Bend in 2013, she was one of only four Eagles. Fueled with Eagle Fire, she joined the chapter leadership team as Social Director. She attended her first Eagle Leader Experience in June 2015, and stepped into the Chapter Captain role in January 2016 to help her chapter grow over the next three years. Today, Team RWB South Bend has more than 400 active Eagles.
In January 2019, Monroe took another step forward and joined Team RWB as an Eagle Leader Fellow. The Eagle Leader Fellowship is part of Team RWB’s Eagle Leadership Development Program and is a twelve-month experience focused on education, mentorship, and experiential learning.
Team RWB Eagles are known for their drive. They don’t ignore challenges. They stay positive and attack them. During the fellowship, Christina Monroe has fully embodied this lesson.
“I’ve given my local chapter my all so far, and I am looking forward to sharing that on the regional level. As a Fellow, I have recently taken on the responsibility of connecting to teammates in the Midwest who don’t belong to a local chapter. I’m working on consistent communication to reach out and keep them abreast of regional and virtual events to help them maintain a connection to the rest of the organization,” said Monroe.
Taking on new challenges
In true Team RWB Eagle fashion, Monroe uses the time she has left over after her career, family, and fellowship to take on new physical and professional challenges. She recently trained for the 2019 Eagle Up Ultra Marathon in Canal Fulton, OH, where she challenged herself with the support of her Eagle relay team.
The Eagle Leader Fellowship includes a $5,000 scholarship component for additional external leader development. Monroe is using her scholarship to take on a new challenge – earning her yoga certification, which she will use to further give back to the veteran and military community through Team RWB programming.
“I have connected with the Director at our local Vet Center. He was excited to bring me in to teach and focus on helping our local veteran community. I will complete a trauma-sensitive yoga program designed to provide the instruction and tools needed to understand PTSD and trauma at a deeper level and guide students toward greater healing,” said Monroe.
Team RWB has also helped Monroe alleviate feelings of isolation. Since becoming a part of the organization, she developed a network and knows that she can reach out to other Eagles any hour of the day, and they’ll answer.
“After attending the Naval Academy for a short time, I felt like there was something missing… like I didn’t know where I belonged. That feeling is gone now. Team RWB is how I connect with veterans and continue to serve. My teammates will always be an important part of my life, as they are my teammates and my best friends. They believe in me, and I in them,” said Monroe.
At its core, Eagle Leadership is all about building genuine relationships. Throughout her time as an Eagle Fellow, Christina Monroe has done just that. She is growing as an empathetic, authentic, and loyal leader and is making a difference in her community and helping enrich the lives of veterans.
“This group is like no other. We are better together. All I have to do is look for another red shirt and I will have a friend there,” said Monroe.
Applications for the 2020 Eagle Leader Fellowship open October, 2019. To learn more about the Eagle Leader Fellowship and Eagle Leadership Development Program, visit https://www.teamrwb.org/programs/eagle-leadership-development-program.