How Storytelling Can Empower Veterans
A few years ago, a Navy veteran walked into a classroom session with The Ariel Group. The course was a part of his MBA coursework, and he was admittedly skeptical of what an actress-turned-facilitator could teach him about leadership. She had never seen a battlefield. She doesn’t know how to make life-or-death decisions in the moment. She doesn’t know his story.
Meanwhile, a program coordinator warned the facilitator that this veteran was a skeptic and may be a bit “difficult” during the workshop. Undaunted, the facilitator pressed on with the session.
Surprisingly, over the course of the workshop, the veteran became a convert. His arms became uncrossed. He reflected on what the facilitator said. He embraced the tactics. When it came time to share personal stories, the veteran told his small group about his experience – a story he’d never told anyone else, not even his family.
Because of the story’s impact, the facilitator convinced the veteran to share it with the larger group of MBA students. That veteran was Matt Fetterman and that experience, he says, was one of the most transformational experiences of his life.
Later, Matt called his twin brother Mark, also a Navy veteran, and told him about the impact of the day – the how empowered he felt. This is a drastic difference from how most veterans feel. According to Mark,
“We fight for the freedom of others, but we don’t have the freedom to share our stories when we return home. We instead bear the burden in silence.”
Both agreed that their fellow veterans, service members, and first responders would also benefit from going through a similar program. So the two brothers founded The Homefront Foundation, Inc., a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on teaching veterans and service members how to tell their stories. Using The Ariel Group’s techniques, veterans will develop and share personal stories to reconnect and build relationships in their communities, in their workplace, and most importantly, in their homes.
We are thrilled to announce The Ariel Group’s partnership with this fantastic organization. On Saturday, August 27, The Homefront Foundation will hold their first storytelling event, Unwritten Letters. Here, 11 service members, first responders, and veterans will learn how to develop their stories and share them with the community for a special event that evening.
To learn how your company can be a sponsor for this event, visit The Homefront Foundation’s website here.