Female Soldiers, Forgotten Heroes
The PFC Nicholas A. Madaras Home for female Veterans who are homeless is a tribute inspired by a young soldier who wanted to share his love of soccer with the children in Iraq. He never had the chance to personally hand a ball to a child but his wish has inspired people across our country to send over 36,000 balls, each one bearing his name, to the children in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nick’s spirit lives on with each of those balls carrying the belief that every person should have the opportunity to overcome hardships and improve their life.
This same spirit now lives on in honor of the female soldiers who served with him in Iraq. This home serves as an important reminder of the courage and strength of our female soldiers who have sacrificed so much to protect our way of life. It is a sanctuary for those who have returned home bearing the physical, mental and emotional scars of combat so that we may live in freedom and security.
It may be foremost in our minds to remember those who have been lost, but we can never forget the faith, strength and courage of those men and women who were fortunate enough to return home, as well as those who continue to be away from their families in countries with foreign cultures and severe climates, especially during the holidays. Whether they are in harm’s way or not, they are protecting the foundations of our way of life and freedom.
To date, over 200,000 female soldiers have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. As do male soldiers, many return home with the invisible scars of combat; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, memories of the things they have experienced in combat, a hesitance to accept the security of life with their own family, broken marriages, the inability to deal with the day-to-day responsibilities of civilian life, and many other effects of what they have been through. Believe it or not, a number of these Veterans become homeless, including some who have a child. Because of the Middle East conflicts, this has become a major issue only recently. There are many facilities to help homeless male Veterans but only a handful of facilities are designed specifically for the needs of female Veterans. These are Veterans who just need some time to recover from the experiences they have been through so they can return to productive lives. Download our Brochure for more information.
Partnering to meet the Need…
Homes for the Brave, in Bridgeport, runs a Transitional Housing Program for male
Veterans. Kick for Nick has partnered with them to help create and establish a new Home exclusively for female Veterans. This ‘residence’ will be the first of its kind in Connecticut. It will house up to 15 women who are homeless and are honorably and/or generally discharged from the military, and are fully recommended by the VA. It is designed to accommodate up to 5 women with a child under 2 years of age, and 3 beds are fully handicap accessible. Although it will be in Connecticut, the home will be available to female Veterans from the Greater New England region. The facility will provide counseling, health care, case-management and skills-training, and it will focus the appropriate attention on their gender-specific needs.
Female Soldiers Forgotten Heroes (FSFH) is a group of dedicated volunteers formed under the Kick for Nick program to promote fundraising efforts to make this home a reality (please see our committee members’ list). We have been working on this project since 2008. Since then, we raised 40% of the funds needed to be matched by the Federal Government Grant Per Diem to help Homes for the Brave fund the acquisition and rehabilitation of a property. On November 30, 2010 we closed on a property in Bridgeport. Renovations have been completed on this is a $1.2 million project and we welcomed our first residents in October 2011. (Watch video)
It is our goal to make this home an exceptional example of a quality program with maximum community caring and involvement in helping our female Veteran heroes.
Housing specifically for female veterans is largely insufficient for the growing need. Connecticut currently has 106 transitional supportive beds but less than 10 of them are for women. Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that 6,000 - 8,000 women veterans are homeless in our country. For further information, download the Female Veterans Fact Sheet. In addition, CNN.com recently ran an informative article that illuminates the growing problem of homeless female vetearans.
Are You a Veteran?
Every dollar counts…..
The sustainability and quality of the transitional housing program is entirely dependent on fundraising efforts and grants. The FSFH committee members host a number of diverse fundraising activities, the upcoming ones are:
- The "Coming Home" Gala was held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at St. Ann's Club Hall in Norwalk, CT.
- Exclusively designed merchandise by Pam Wertz
- Online/mail-in donations (see below photo for link)
A very special acknowledgement and thanks to ~
Joy Kiss, CEO, ABRI/Homes for the Brave for her perseverance and continued dedication
Dr. Laurie Harkness, Director Recovery Services, Errerra Community Care Center, VA CT for her guidance and collaboration.
The PFC Nicholas Madaras Home, Bridgeport, CT
How to Help: Anyone interested in lending their assistance or becoming involved in other ways can contact Shalini Madaras via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 203-451-6622. For more information please visit www.homesforthebrave.org.
If you would like to make a donation to the Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes Project, click on the button below. Donated funds will be gathered by the Kick for Nick Foundation and dispersed directly to the FS:FH transitional housing project.
Shalini Madaras was recently interviewed on the Marty Heiser Show about the FSFH program and Kick For Nick. You may watch the video here "Marty Heiser".
Clicking on the logo below will link you to additional information about the Fundraising Gala held by FS:FH in May.