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Women Warriors Find Sisterhood and Empowerment During Weekend Away

After a tough week, Army veteran Jenein Hamilton could have stayed home and skipped a recent women’s empowerment weekend organized by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). But her efforts to attend paid off in lasting friendships.

“I didn’t think about my worries because the weekend was filled with good energy, acceptance, and new friendships,” Jenein said. She talked with other veterans about her recent job loss and her husband’s heart health.

“I realized it is OK to have feelings — I don’t have to hide them,” Jenein said. “Being around other women warriors gave me hope that everything I am going through is OK and there is help along my journey. Being around like-minded people allowed me to feel I could share without judgment. Our group became a sisterhood from day one. I made friends for life.” 

Fifteen female warriors from all over Florida convened in Tampa with travel assistance from WWP. They came from different military branches and were in various stages of their transitions to civilian life. But they shared common threads as service members with a desire to build supportive bonds.

“Getting to know each other will hopefully lead to supporting and being there for each other in the long run,” said Jamie Morris, WWP outreach specialist.

At the empowerment weekend, female veterans dove into topics of self-awareness, discussed breaking down labels put on women, and worked on identifying their core motivations. While building bonds with one another, they also prepared care packages to send to female active duty service members downrange. 

Jenein had previously attended WWP activities, including a couples Project Odyssey® with her civilian husband. While all events help her feel supported, she said there is something special about being around other women veterans.

“It feels like a sisterhood where no one is alone,” Jenein said. “There’s care, love, and togetherness — and we all share knowledge to keep empowering each other.”

A Time to Shake Things Up
Air Force veteran Tya Lewis echoed those feelings. She had been to a few WWP events and was looking for something beyond physical and mental well-being programs when she signed up for the women’s empowerment weekend.

“I was ready to shake things up, and this provided the extra sizzle I was looking for,” Tya said. “I got to do things I would not normally do, like allow myself to be center stage, play games, and do a five-minute movie with other veterans. We got to share the core of who we really are. In doing so, we felt comfortable with each other by the end of the weekend.”

Tya acknowledged the challenges all warriors face while transitioning to civilian life. “Getting out of the military can be a complete shock,” Tya said. “You’re used to a uniform lifestyle where you’re conforming to everything. It is quite different in the civilian world. Ever since getting involved in Wounded Warrior Project activities like Project Odyssey and female-focused events, it has really helped get me out of my box. Connecting with veterans who are also making the transition helps you make your transition a lot better.”

In a 2020 survey of the women warriors it serves, WWP asked female veterans to identify the top three challenges they faced during their military-to-civilian transition.

The most cited responses were:

  1. Coping with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, etc. (61%).
  2. Financial stress (30%).
  3. Coping with mental health issues related to military sexual trauma (MST) (25%).

Nearly half of women warriors (49%) reported feeling isolated from others, indicating that social and personal support play a critical role in their transition to civilian life from a military career. WWP works to ensure no warrior ever feels alone.

WWP offers mental health programs to assist women warriors in their journeys to recovery. The nonprofit also developed the Women Warriors Initiative to better understand, empower, and advocate for women warriors.

Contact: Raquel Rivas — Public Relations, rrivas@woundedwarriorproject.org, 904.426.9783

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.