Story by Krishna Jackson

SAN DIEGO – February 18 – REBOOT Workshops is launching a new initiative focused on women veterans and spouses. Graduates of the program got together in February to discuss their personal challenges with transitioning and share recommendations for how best to serve these special women. Each veteran shared her thoughts on what benefitted her most while going through the workshop and what might need improvement. REBOOT’s President Maurice Wilson, moderated the discussion.

“What suggestions do you have for us to make the workshop even better? Are you still using the tools? How valuable were these tools and how helpful have they been? Do you use them every day? Do you pass it on to other people, etc.,” asked Wilson during the luncheon that reunited women veterans from past all-women and co-ed REBOOT Workshop classes. The alumni answered specific questions so he could gauge what worked and what didn’t work in the program. 

REBOOT graduate, Zoe Fisher shared what she loved about her experience in the first all-woman REBOOT Workshop in October 2013. She was part of Class 58 where she learned about the psychological effects of transitioning from the military to civilian life. She said she still uses the tools she was given during the workshop.

“I use my vision board. I have it posted in my home office and I explain it to my kids and any of my friends who visit. I still use my REBOOT booklet and CDs,” she said. ”During our workshop we had the pleasure of working with a team that came in from New York called Operation Reinvent. They invited Fantastic Sams, Stila and Spiegel and we had a full makeover. That lead to me working with ACP [American Corporate Partners] and now I have a mentor.”

All of the attendees agreed that finding a mentor was a critical part of successfully transitioning.  Wilson took great interest in this feedback and expressed a desire to do more with mentorship in the REBOOT program. 

“As we work with more and more veterans we have found a gap between the services and support women veterans receive and those their male counterparts receive so we have actively engaged with organizations interested in helping women veterans overcome obstacles and find the help they need to succeed,” said Wilson.

The Ford Motor Company and the Boeing Employee Fund of Southern California are two such organizations supporting women veterans. They are sponsoring the all-women veteran/spouse REBOOT Workshops coming up in the spring and fall in Los Angeles. Other partners sponsoring the L.A. workshop include the Sony Corporation and veteran investigative reporter/producer/author Don Ray, also the founder of The Endangered History Project, Inc., and Veterans in Film & Television. The workshops will take place on National University’s L.A. campus March 9 through 27.  The third all-women veteran/spouse REBOOT Workshop will be held in Southeast Michigan in March and is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs.

During the L.A. workshops, Ford will provide mentoring for the 40 women graduates and attached to the project (but funded separately) is a documentary of the challenges female veterans face while trying to reintegrate back into civilian society. It will tell their story, document their challenges, and point out the gaps overlooked by the system.

Women veterans currently make up less than 10% of the more than 20 million veterans in the U.S. but that number is expected to drastically clime over the next 40 years. Studies show women veterans are facing greater challenges than their male counterparts when they return to civilian life. And yet, too often, they are flying under the radar when it comes to the assistance they need. Unfortunately the existing government-ran transition programs do not go deep enough to meet their needs resulting in many women leaving the military with unresolved issues such as military sexual trauma (MST), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and unemployment. That is why Wilson wants to expand the REBOOT program to help more and more women veterans. 

To learn more about NVTSI’s Woman Veterans Initiative please visit our webpage. If you are interested in becoming a mentor please visit our page.