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Project New Hope: Helping Veterans Reconnect with Their Families

May 25, 2010

When veterans return home from months or years in combat, many struggle to reconnect with their families. Lions are working to change that by partnering with Minnesota’s Veteran’s Affairs Department to provide an innovative program.

Last summer, our video crew traveled to McGregor, Minnesota to find out about the Project New Hope program – a free retreat where veterans and their families come to bond and reflect. Counselors lead the sessions, but the families do the real work. “The research shows that the most effective therapy is peer-to-peer counseling,” says Dustin Oosten, a Project New Hope Counselor. “People bounce ideas off each other because it’s not about becoming bullet-proof. It’s just … doing the best we can so we can move forward.”

At two years old, Maya isn’t old enough to understand the impact her dad’s year in Iraq had on her family. Her parents are working on redefining their relationship. “You can let down some of the barriers and say, hey we got some issues. And wow – everyone has similar issues,” said Marlon Reynolds, an Iraq war veteran. Marlon’s wife, Michelle Montalvo added, “I felt like crying a billion times since I’ve been here so far. I feel like I’ve had a lump in my throat the whole time. “It’s just a relief. It feels really good.”

See how this project is giving Marlon’s family – and other military families just like them – new hope for the future.

  1. Connie Jo Bolei permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:15 pm

    Project New Hope is a wonderful opportunity for vets and their families. You can help by getting the word out to vets in your community. Turn them onto the website – for more information. This program is free to the vets and their families, which is huge for those needing help. Spread the word and get the vets there so their lives can be changed forever!

  2. Hazel Holager permalink
    May 26, 2010 8:05 am

    What a wonderful project! Makes me proud to be a Lion!

  3. May 25, 2010 2:31 pm

    I would like to THANK all LIONS who have tirelessly given their support to Veterans, their families, and the mission of Project New Hope. I would also like to THANK all Veterans for their service. We are all truly linked by our service to our community and to our Country.

    This year has been very exciting for us…. we have embarked on our 60 x 16 campaign and have added the States of Wisconsin and New York to the list of locations hosting Project New Hope retreats. It is our goal to have ALL 50 States and ALL 10 Canadian Provinces hosting Project New Hope retreats by 2016.

    Representatives of Project New Hope will be presenting at this year’s USA/Canada Forum and we would like to introduce you to the 60 x 16 campaign and Project New Hope further. Please feel free to email me at any time with your questions, comments, or concerns.

    Have a great Memorial weekend.

    Lion Bruce Billington
    Project New Hope

    • May 25, 2010 2:42 pm

      Thanks for the additional information about this wonderful project. Happy Memorial Day to you!

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