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Glendale, Cali.

YWCA Glendale Teaches Female Veterans to Lead with Resiliency and Grace

Retired Col. Nancy Sumner, center, talks to Carl Reggio, left, and his wife, Lynne, at the YWCA Glendale during the program’s graduation ceremony.

The YWCA Glendale hosted a three day Leading with Resiliency and Grace Program designed to help women transition from military to civilian life. The conference was held at the request of Lindsey Sin, the California Deputy Secretary of Women Veterans Affairs

Women go through many transitions in their professional roles and in their personal and family relationships. Military women face the additional transition from home to deployment or from active duty to civilian life. This program supports women in the military and empowers them to authentically express themselves as extraordinary leaders throughout any and all transitions. After enrolling in this program, women are able to step into their future unencumbered by what has happened in their past. They can make a positive and powerful difference in the world starting now.

Across the nation, there are over 2 million women veterans and active duty service members with the highest concentration in California. According to recent statistics, military women need more support than their civilian counterparts. They are three times more likely to commit suicide and twice as likely to experience sexual harassment or assault.

Conference attendee Amber Holden served in the Army National Guard from 1993 until a medical discharge in 1999. She was among the first of the participants to talk about being sexually assaulted.  “I still have problems with the R word,” she said. 

Elvia Huizar, a 29-year-old participant in the conference, was sexually assaulted while stationed in Germany. “I know I'm not alone,” she said. 

Military women are also more than twice as likely to experience unemployment. The unemployment rate for women veterans 18-24 years old is 36.1% compared to 14.5% for non-veteran women. They are also four times as likely to be homeless: approximately 13,000 women veterans and their children are homeless.

As a result, YWCA Glendale has made a commitment to empower all women who have served or serve at the local, statewide and national levels.  

The program focuses on three parts: Leadership, Resiliency, and Grace.

  • Leadership is discovering how to realize a future that would not have happened otherwise and learning to exercise leadership under all circumstances.
  • Resiliency is putting the past in the past and regaining one’s footing with velocity and bringing full capacity to what one is dealing with moment-to-moment.
  • Grace is learning to be in the flow of life and gain the capacity to exercise love, kindness and mercy in all situations.

In addition to this program, the YWCA Glendale has partnered with the Veteran’s Representative at Glendale College and the USC Military Social Intern to deliver mental health and benefits services, child care and peer support groups for female veterans.

YWCA Glendale previously hosted the Military Women’s Empowerment and Wellness Conference to teach women about medical and dental benefits, resume writing and enhancement, social media basics, budget management, holistic self-care practices, wardrobes for the workplace, and peer support.  They also hosted the Invisible War, a documentary that examines sexual assault in the military, to raise awareness about this issue.

Learn more about the YWCA Glendale and their programs, and visit them on Facebook