Honor Their Courage Educates Teachers and Students While Helping Veterans Live Fuller Lives
School kids across the country are showing off their creative and entrepreneurial skills to raise money for veterans. Along with their teachers, students are also expressing a desire to learn about veterans and the service and sacrifices veterans make.
The Honor Their Courage program from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a veteran fundraiser that allows educators and students to learn about veterans and help empower wounded warriors through WWP’s life-changing programs and services.
The program provides flexible educational and informational resources, lesson plans, and fundraising ideas for veterans, as well as activities and prizes, to encourage and empower students from kindergarten through 12th grade to harness their passion and enthusiasm to improve veterans’ lives.
Students have designed and sold T-shirts, held concerts, hosted bake sales, and engaged their communities to help support wounded warriors.
“We want students and educators to have easy turnkey materials available to them,” said WWP Community Fundraising Specialist Erika Hatch. “Learning about veterans and their sacrifice should not be hard.”
Getting to Know Wounded Warriors
While Veterans Day is a big focus of the Honor Their Courage program, this year the program has expanded to run throughout the school year. Any educator or student is eligible to participate, including those being home-schooled, libraries, and community student groups, like Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts.
The program takes into account the ages and grades of the students with accommodating lesson plans and activities. One of the standout features is the opportunity to hear veterans’ stories directly from the veteran. Through videos, written bios, and sometimes even visits from the warriors themselves, WWP warriors share their personal stories about their service and how WWP helped them, and students get to see who they’re supporting.
“It’s more of a personal look at the veteran and their experience,” Erika said. “[The students] have that empathy and are recognizing what a sacrifice these warriors made and showing their gratitude. It’s really nice to see.”
Learning About a Pivotal Moment in History: 9/11
New resources this year include take-home activities students can do with their parents. They are encouraged to conduct an interview with either a veteran or someone who was around on Sept. 11, 2001, and how that day impacted them.
“I think that's important because, for a lot of this generation, 9/11 is just something in the history books,” Erika said. “But, for many of those who were around for 9/11, it changed their whole outlook. And some of them ended up having to go to Iraq and Afghanistan and that changed their lives.
“I think it's important that kids have the opportunity to ask how someone’s life was changed after that.”
The program also suggests related reading material and encourages students to write letters to veterans, which are then usually dispersed to veteran organizations within their communities.
“We're very excited to have added resources this year,” Erika said. “We see classrooms really embrace this program.”
Putting the Program into Practice
Since the start of the Honor Their Courage program in 2020, thousands of educators across the country have implemented it and been an integral part of spreading knowledge and appreciation for our nation’s veterans and service members to younger generations.
“I knew our students would love it, and I was right,” said Jennifer Hinga, a sixth-grade teacher in Augusta, Michigan. “As soon as I introduced the idea and told them a little about Wounded Warrior Project and what they do, our kids were all-hands-on-deck, ready to take action to help. It was really heartwarming to see them motivated to help others, specifically some of our most important people, our veterans.”
Many educators relate to the program because it reinforces the values their schools are already instilling in students.
“My students and I absolutely love this program,” said Jeff Donaldson, a fourth-grade teacher in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. “This was a great way to teach them about the importance of service, bravery, and empathy. They really enjoyed all the videos that various warriors made to teach us some of the core values that we should all strive to attain.”
Other teachers appreciated the ease and flexibility of the lesson plans and activities.
“This project was very emotionally fulfilling for our students and, as educators, the materials available made the task of teaching children about honor, courage, commitment, service, and integrity easier,” said fourth-grade teachers Jo Schiller and Michelle Adkins of Casper, Wyoming.
The program also has an optional fundraising component to help support the post-9/11 combat veterans WWP serves. Students can create their own fundraising effort or get suggestions from the program, as well as have the opportunity to win prizes for their efforts.
“They were extremely proud of our fundraising efforts because it was a way to say thank you and give back to those who have given so much to us,” Jeff said. “I am honored to have been a part of this program and can't wait to continue to be a part of it for years to come.”
Fueling the Mission for the Future
Wounded Warrior Project believes every warrior has a next mission and should never feel alone. Thanks to community support and programs like Honor Their Courage, America’s youth are helping empower warriors in the next mission of their lives and supporting future generations of warriors.
“Sometimes we need a little encouragement when finding a new mission,” said wounded warrior and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Taniki Richard. “…You can give back to those who have given so much for our country. You can honor and empower United States veterans.”
Contact: — Paris Moulden, Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.570.7910
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.