SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2017) – It’s true: wolves have been the victims of bad press thanks to Little Red Riding Hood and Animal Planet. But for a group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) warriors and families, grey wolves were a joy of the “W” animals theme at San Diego Zoo’s KinderNight’s Program. Wolves, it turns out, are too shy to be fairy tale villains.
“We met one,” said Roxanne Ross, wife of Army veteran Robert Ross, who attended with her daughter. This was Roxanne’s first connection event. “We learned about wolf behavior and a little sign language. We also did arts and crafts during ‘Big Bad Wolf’ story time. My daughter loved it. These Wounded Warrior Project events help families connect and help warriors open up and have fun.”
Warriors and families attend these gatherings to experience what is possible when they connect with fellow wounded veterans.
The pizza party beforehand provided warriors with stress-free time to prepare for delving into the program. Then, guests enjoyed the sensory delights of the zoo: the feel of fur and scales under eager fingertips, the sugary scent of orange pumpkin squish, the trunk’s length view of massive elephants – and a bit of lively conversation with a chatty zebra.
Navy veteran Christina Danley and her toddler enjoyed arts and crafts with a twist: they used snacks to build houses for the Three Little Pigs. Another highlight? Meeting a special breed of reptile: “The “ninja” turtle experience was very cool — my 3-year-old is a huge fan!” Christina said.
Along with recreating military bonds, WWP gatherings highlight family unity. “My daughter and I still talk about what she learned and saw at KinderNights,” Roxanne said.
Christina and Roxanne noted that the friendly WWP staff also made for a great experience as guests learned about the Warriors to Work program. “Everyone was welcoming,” Roxanne said. “Having fun while being informed was great.”
WWP has been a major part of her family’s life, said Christina. “We have participated in quite a few Wounded Warrior Project activities over the years. We’ve gone to Disneyland – which was perfect timing with my husband’s retirement four years ago – a cooking class in Napa, and even Malibu for an amazing couples workshop. Wounded Warrior Project has been a huge blessing for our family. We’re grateful for experiences that allow us to get out of our own misery and find joy. Making friends with much of the staff has been valuable, too.”
The 2016 WWP Annual Warrior Survey highlights the importance of connection at WWP outreach events. These settings support the long-term recovery of warriors with physical injuries and social anxieties.
For photos from this event, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Lazjee’ C. Lyles – Public Relations Coordinator
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.