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.
Read more of the study and why it matters here.