Using Storytelling to Help Veterans Share and Heal
Storytelling helps start real conversations, break down emotional walls, and strengthen relationships.
Everyone has heard stories of heroism, courage, and sacrifice. Our men and women who serve have lived them, and have also dealt with the stresses of war, other traumatic events, or their transition home. These people often feel they must silently bear the burdens of their profession. The Homefront Foundation, in partnership with Ariel, teaches veterans and servicemembers how to tell their complex stories using unique storytelling techniques. In doing so, they help themselves and their communities make sense of their experiences.
Helping servicemembers cope and civilians understand
By telling their stories, veterans find a new way to transition back home. Storytelling helps them start real conversations, break down emotional walls, and strengthen relationships. They gain a voice, and their communities get the opportunity to listen.
Their stories are desperately needed, especially now. They allow our communities to see who is in the uniform, behind the badge, on the front line. The Homefront Foundation works with Ariel to help veterans and servicemembers communicate with power and presence—and, in turn, lead their communities.
Whether they’re transitioning out of the uniform or coming home, we can’t leave veterans and servicemembers alone. It’s our responsibility to help them integrate back into civilian life. By teaching them to tell their stories in a more meaningful way, The Homefront Foundation makes an impact not only on the members themselves, but also on those willing to listen.
Direct impact: a few examples of stories
Storytelling events move people beyond “Thank you for your service” to genuine appreciation, and then to results: rebuilding relationships and creating a stronger community. They offer a chance for civilians to understand veterans’ sacrifice and trauma.
From just a few participants:
- An Army soldier, deploying to Iraq for the fourth time, says he can use his story to better connect with his platoon as they march into harm’s way once again.
- A flight medic found relief from an emotionally challenging rescue where he was faced with a moral dilemma he had never trained for: choosing whether to fulfill a patient’s wish or save his life.
- A fire chief who had served for over 20 years shared how every casualty is a burden firefighters carry, even when they go home.
- A veteran explained why he wanted to go back to Afghanistan and why he felt more lost at home than 7,000 miles away.
- A Navy Seal Officer shared how suicide in the military and among veterans affects even the strongest.
The Homefront Foundation: rooted in experience
The founders of The Homefront Foundation, Mark and Matthew Fetterman, are twin brothers, both US Navy, Afghanistan War Veterans. Since separating from active duty, Mark and Matt have sought to serve and give back by bringing the skills of storytelling to veterans and servicemembers.
Mark and Matthew recognize how strongly service to our country can take a toll. From their time in service dealing with sacrifice, loss, and constant transition, they found themselves disconnected from those that they were once close to—and they are not the only ones.
Help us bring authentic stories of service back home
In order to support our veterans and servicemembers, we need the full support of our communities—and that includes you. There are many ways you can help, and one of the most helpful ways is to sponsor a veteran in one of The Homefront Foundation’s upcoming workshops. Start by checking out The Homefront Foundation’s Facebook page or website, and see how you can impact the lives of these heroes.