Project New Hope in the Northwest
Upon learning of Project New Hope of Minnesota, Lion Joel Graves began the process of establishing a similar operation in Lions District 19C. The location was ideal, given the proximity of several military bases. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord alone the movement of military personnel to and from combat zones in Iraq and Afganistan took on such a pace that, due to the relatively small size of our armed forces, too many servicemen and service women were facing nearly back-to-back deployments. It is no longer rare to hear of military personnel embarking on their 4th and 5th combat assignments.
Such a marathon schedule of departures and returns is not only a serious cause of stress for the serviceperson, but an incredible burden for their families. While military life can provide a certain type of stability, the turmoil created by the frequent deployments has the potential to overshadow any benefits of stability.
The returning veterans can hardly avoid returning with altered personalities or views of life compared to when initially deployed. Each additional deployment only adds cumulative, often negative affects to the individuals' personalities. Returning to his or her prior life can often be a problematic transition. Adding to the complexities of returning warriors' transition, the veterans' families have faced difficulties coping with the temporary loss of a key member. They have had to assume responsibilities previously held by the absent individual. Children must learn to conduct themselves without that critical role model and disciplinarian. When the combat tour concludes, the joy is mixed with the resumption of traditional roles by all parties, a prospect sometimes creating confusion,frustration and possibly resentment.
For those experiencing difficulties in the transition, Lions Project New Hope Northwest offers free weekend retreats for individual veterans as well as entire families. The retreats, held in the midst of some of the most beautiful and peaceful forest land in the Pacific Northwest, provide counseling sessions with professional counselors; there also is ample time for the families to enjoy recreational activities as a function of reaffirming the bonds they felt prior to deployment.
LPNH-NW, like is a function of the Lions International Multiple District 19, and its core activities are in the South Puget Sound region. It is managed by a board of directors and is a tax-exempt 501C(3) organization. All staff, board members and retreat assistants, including professional counselors, are unpaid volunteers.
Funding for LPNH-NW is provided by Lions Clubs contributions, private donations and grants presented by corporations and other organizations. The majority of those funds go to the costs of acquiring facilities for the weekend camps, including meals and overnight accomodations. There are no paid personnel.