Athena's Sisters: Giving a voice to female veterans
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Athena's Sisters, a non-profit organization, is giving a voice to female veterans and helping them find their inner strength.
"I am a warrior - pride and blue - I am a warrior amongst a few."
That is how Jennifer Schieb's poem, Princess Warrior, begins. As an Army veteran, she's struggled through many traumatic experiences including suicide.
“I wanted so much to have a voice and I felt like nobody was listening to me,” Schieb told WDRB News.
That's where Athena's Sisters comes into play says founder and Air Force veteran, Lindsay Gargatto.
“That's what a lot of women say - they feel invisible,” Gargatto told WDRB News.
Bringing female veterans together and empowering them is the goal.
“You'll never have a friend like you do with a veteran or military person. There's just a different level of human connection that happens,” said Gargatto.
It's that indescribable bond that glues these women together who were once strangers. Gargatto says with them it's different.
“I never worry about being judged, or pushed away or even left out - it's just amazing,” said Gargatto.
But it's not only about bringing them together.
“A lot of it is about feeling safe,” said Gargatto.
Safe to talk about their military experiences and moving forward with other women who can relate to them.
“Being a warrior is more than just wearing a uniform. Being a warrior is being a person who is willing to make sacrifices and that's what these women have done,” said Gargatto.
She hopes their recovery can begin through conversation, creative writing, and artwork. And in the end, finding their voice and inner strength like Air Force veteran Janice Pullen.
“I am so proud of my experience in the military, and I'm not letting anybody have that from me,” said Pullen.
Athena's Sisters meets every second and fourth Monday of the month. If you are a female veteran or would like to become a supporter you can visit the Athena's Sisters website for more information.
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