Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP
Musician Julio Fernandez during a Voices of Valor music session at Montclair State University.
Today I am returning to the topic of veterans programs that help people overcome post-traumatic stress and reintegrate into civilian life. (Interesting how often these programs involve gardening or the arts — which we always knew were good for us!)
Samantha Henry at the Boston Globe has the story.
“During stressful times as a combat medic in Afghanistan, Mason Sullivan found solace in Vivaldi. New Jersey native Nairobi Cruz was comforted by country music, a genre she had never heard before joining the Army. For Jose Mercedes, it was an eclectic iPod mix that helped him cope with losing an arm during a tour of duty in Iraq.
“These three young veterans all say music played a crucial role in alleviating the stresses of active duty. Now, all three are enrolled in a program that hopes to use music to ease their reintegration into civilian life.
‘‘ ‘It’s a therapy session without the “sit down, lay down, and write notes,” ‘ Mercedes, 26, of Union City, said of the music program. ‘It’s different — it’s an alternative that’s way better.’
“The pilot program, called Voices of Valor, has veterans work as a group to synthesize their experiences into musical lyrics. Guided by musicians and a psychology mentor, they write and record a song, and then hold a CD release party. The program is currently underway at Montclair State University, where students participate through the school’s veteran affairs program.
“Developed by husband and wife team Brian Dallow and Rena Fruchter, it is open to veterans of any age and background. No musical experience is required.” More.
P.S. A word on the power of reddit. John posted my blog entry from yesterday in the Christmas category at reddit and it increased traffic to this site by a factor of 10 so far.