In this month’s installment of our Veteran Nonprofit Spotlight, we shine a light on Warrior Spirit Project (WSP). Warrior Spirit Project’s mission is to help restore the soul and strengthen the spirit of Veterans and First Responders through Yoga, Dogs, and Dirt, offering support for the transition from isolation to meaningful community engagement. We spoke to Co-Founder Charla Truesdale about the important work WSP is performing in the Veteran community.
Describe the work your organization does and who you endeavor to help.
(WSP) is an all-volunteer charitable organization that provides evidence-based alternative healing options for veterans and first responders feeling the effects of traumatic experiences, Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Our mission is to help restore the soul and strengthen the spirit of veterans and first responders through Yoga, Dogs, and Dirt, offering support for the transition from isolation to meaningful community engagement. We envision healing, community connection, and positive personal transformation for every warrior who has been wounded in body or spirit.
There are three primary components of the project, all FREE for veterans and first responders…
Steady Warriors: This is our primary program, offering Trauma-Informed Yoga and Integrative Restoration (iRest) Meditation classes for veterans and first responders of all ages, capabilities, status (active, discharged, retired, reserve) and service histories. These classes are adaptive in nature and provide an accessible opportunity for healing in a safe community of peers.
Pit Bull Partners Rescue Mission: Our dog program trains adoptable rescued Pit Bulls in the Tri-City Animal Shelter as companion and emotional support dogs for at-risk warriors. Participatory training with these dogs offers an opportunity for dog therapy and could be a struggling veteran or first responder’s first step out of isolation.
GOOD to GrOw: Our “dirt” program involves inserting ourselves into existing community gardens, developing and supporting neighborhood kitchen garden co-ops, and offering dog-friendly opportunities that encourage connection with others through natural discovery of common “ground”. This approach facilitates integration into the broader community and supports Post Traumatic GrOwth.
If someone asked you about your organization, what’s the one most important aspect or takeaway you’d want them to remember?
We are a relationship-focused and connection-oriented organization that considers every participant part of our close-knit, supportive, and non-judgmental family. Our founders and leadership team come from the same warrior community we are trying to serve, so we “get it”, yet we still understand that trust has to be patiently earned.
What’s the single biggest ‘push’ or area of focus for your organization right now?
Our biggest area of focus right now is spreading our Steady Warriors program throughout the Dallas and Fort Worth area in a very intentional way, so that location and schedule are not barriers for anyone who wants to participate. We collaborate with a variety of veteran service organizations, and we are very careful in our selection and on-boarding of new teachers, making sure that each one not only has the unique skills and qualifications required for this work, but also has honorable intentions and a personal connection to the warrior community.
What’s the biggest single need your organization has right now?
Because we are a mobile organization, with a variety of partnering host sites for our Steady Warriors program, our biggest single need is to outfit each site with supplies that will allow participants to have the same quality experience no matter where they choose to go (and many participate at multiple locations). These supplies include yoga mats, yoga blankets, bolsters, eye pillows, and yoga blocks, which are too cumbersome to transport multiple times a day, to multiple locations. A storage cabinet at each site, to hold it all, would be ideal.
Volunteer, Donate, or Connect With Warrior Spirit Project
HBC was founded in early 2011 by Ryan Holloway. After serving over 8 years on active duty in the US Marine Corps, Ryan transitioned from being a full-time marine into an HR professional in early 2003. This began a journey and awoke a passion for helping companies who value their employees. After spending time working with a COBRA and FSA Administrator, an insurance company, and a large brokerage, Ryan realized that there were more unique and creative solutions for businesses than other companies were willing or able to realize. Seizing on his own entrepreneurial spirit, Ryan set out to found an independent agency designed to provide unique and original insurance solutions. To learn more about HBC, visit https://hollowaybenefitconcepts.com/