Athens, Georgia, June 30, 2021— Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga, Inc is honored to announce it has received a capacity building grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) for $13,000, which will fund Veteran Wellness Resource Kits for women veterans who participate in our wellness programs.
Raquel Durden, Executive Director and co-founder of Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga, Inc said, “With this wonderful grant, we will be able to provide women veterans with resources, tools, and equipment to integrate the wellness practices we teach them at retreats into their daily lifestyle."
Joseph VanFonda (USMC, Sgt. Maj. Ret.) CEO of Disabled Veterans National Foundation shared, “We are proud to support Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga, as they continue to make a positive impact in veterans’ lives. We would like to congratulate and thank them for their commitment to assisting the men and women who served in defense of our country.”
Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga, Inc, a 501(c)3 public charity nonprofit established in 2018, provides free wellness classes, workshops, and retreats to women veterans. We teach, resource, and provide trauma-informed and evidence-based wellness practices for mind, body, and soul. Humble Warrior serves women of various backgrounds and identities. We create community in person and through online platforms to encourage and facilitate widespread connections to weave wellness and resilience into lifestyles.
Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critically needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom. DVNF achieves this by:
▪Offering direct financial support to veteran organizations that address the unique needs of veterans, and whose mission align with that of DVNF.
▪Providing supplemental assistance to homeless and low-income veterans through the Health & Comfort program and various empowerment resources.
▪Providing an online resource database that allows veterans to navigate the complex process of seeking benefits that they are entitled do as a result of their military service, as well as additional resources they need.
▪Serving as a thought leader on critical policy issues within the veteran community and educating the public accordingly.
About Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga: We are women supporting women who serve and have served! Humble Warrior provides free wellness retreats, workshops, and classes for women veterans promoting healthy living and social connections. Visit humblewarrior.org for additional details.
For more information about the Disabled National Veterans Foundation (DVNF) please visit their website at dvnf.org
Our newly created Humble Warrior Mentorship Program selected three outstanding mentors: Michele, Kimberly, and Erica. These amazing women all graduated from a Humble Wellness Retreat, made the incredible extra effort to connect with other graduates in real life and on our Facebook Graduate page (private for graduates only), and donated their time, talents, and resources to our nonprofit. A mentor will be embedded in future retreats to share her retreat experience and answer questions or concerns to facilitate a positive retreat experience for new participants. Additionally, the mentor will support our staff with onsite activity transitions. We thank them for volunteering! Keep reading to meet each of our amazing mentors!
Erica is a US Army veteran who served honorably in the logistics field. She is thankful for the lifelong sisterhood with her fellow female military veterans. Currently, Erica is the Director of Patient Experience and Guest Services at Wellstar Health Systems. “There is an existing bond and trust in their presence.” Erica believes that the person you will be in 5 years depends largely on the books, people, food, habits, and conversations you engage in now. Erica is a VERY spontaneous road trip traveler!
Reflecting on her experience with Humble Warrior, she learned “the day you plant the seed isn’t the day you eat the plant. ... Being a mentor has helped me more than any of these ladies could ever know. The silent accountability is refreshing and much needed in this busy world.”
Kimberly (Kim) is a retired US Army veteran who honorably served 20 years in the Finance Corps. Kim enjoyed meeting women who served and are currently serving, and she noticed how strong we are as a group. Additionally, Kim was impressed by the number of small business owners who were veteran and women owned within the group’s participants. Kim embraces wellness, loves her dog Lilly, enjoys playing Bingo with the ladies in her family, and watching her niece play volleyball. She leans on her favorite Bible verse for strength, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”- Psalm 18:2 (ESV).
“It’s been a pleasure being a Humble Warrior Mentor this year (2020) and I will continue to be a supporter for years to come!”
Michele is a retired firefighter with over 27 years of service with Cobb County (GA) Fire and Emergency Services and is actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors as well as serving as the Firefighter Cancer Support Network State Director, Critical Incident. She is a wife and mother of two (Denver, 20 and Brooke, 22). Her husband, daughter, and son are all career firefighters with Cherokee County (GA) Fire and EMS. The funniest thing about Michele is even though she has been a Firefighter and Medical provider most of her life, she now wears bling, painted fingernails, and "girlie stuff." She is loving retirement!
"Humble Warrior has given me the tools to use to help with stress, stretching, journaling and overall de-stressing of my body, mind and soul. Being a part of this special sisterhood has literally changed my life. Being asked to be a part of this program as a mentor was a huge honor and privilege. I hope I can instill the same principles and techniques to others that have helped me."
Despite the unexpected circumstances of 2020, Humble Warrior persevered and had an amazingly blessed year.
We replaced our three-day retreats with one-day retreats. We hosted four successful wellness retreats at Lake Lanier, Waleska, Watkinsville, and Hiawassee where we treated female veterans and first responders to a day of reconnecting, relaxing, and refocusing through a yoga lesson and practice, a lesson on the benefits of plant-based eating, an introduction to journaling class and a journaling session, and a nature centric activity.
We also hosted four virtual workshops on journaling and plant-based eating in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project.
A virtual Week of Wellness was offered to our Humble Warrior graduates. We mailed a box of wellness materials to 28 graduates and treated them to a week of wellness videos and Facebook posts. The week concluded with a Zoom meeting where we reconnected and shared what we learned.
We mailed Eat Pretty, Live Well books to 48 Humble Warriors to encourage them to remember how beautiful we are and how important it is for us to choose to eat and live well in order to enhance our beauty.
Humble Warrior grew in 2020. We welcomed three mentors to our retreats this year, had our first paid intern, and added a Website and Resources Manager. Each of these individuals made Humble Warrior better.
We presented Certificates of Appreciation to our graduates at each retreat in 2020.
Since we have celebrated our second year of existence, Humble Warrior was eligible to apply for three grants: AARP, CDC, and JDA-Athens. JDA-Athens awarded HW $750.
We are blessed to be able to grow our community of followers, subscribers, and graduates in order to create a widespread community of Humble Warriors!
We are excitedly planning new and exhilarating HW events for 2021!
Guess who is TWO! It's Humble Warrior!
We have made so many memories and we can't wait to continue to bring you and other women like you the peace and wellness that we have to share. Help us celebrate by making any size donation to help support women veterans and women first responders! We couldn't do it without you!
As we celebrate our 2nd birthday, the Humble Warrior Board of Directors decided to fully embrace the well known scripture “Iron Sharpens Iron” by taking a deeper look at our nonprofit organization. We literally wanted to take the time and invest the resources to sharpen our edge as we continue to grow. We are interested in finding out attitudes and reactions from our website subscribers; gauging opinions about the services we provide women veterans (Active, Guard, Reserve, and Veteran) and women first responders; measuring our reputation among supporters, donors, and clients; and establishing a benchmark for why our retreat graduates remain connected to us.
To see ourselves better, we administered our first ever “How Are We Doing?” evaluation survey administered on September 12, 2020, to our Day of Wellness retreat graduates. Specifically, we measured seven key areas: Representation, Diversity & Inclusion, Quality, Self-Assessment, Impact, Connectedness, and Reputation.
Representation: 97.5% of graduates responded that they have a clear understanding that Humble Warrior supports all women veterans and women first responders.
Diversity & Inclusion: 100% of graduates responded that they felt comfortable and safe connecting with Humble Warrior to learn holistic wellness modalities.
Quality: 97.5% of graduates responded that Humble Warrior delivers a Successful Wellness Program including camaraderie and emotional well-being.
Self-Assessment: Graduates rated their pre-event wellness status at 87.5%.
Impact: Graduates rated their post-event wellness status at 95%; an improvement of 7.5%.
Connectedness: 97.5% of graduates responded that they subscribed to our website and our Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga, Inc Facebook page to receive and access wellness resources.
Reputation: 100% of graduates responded that they would recommend Humble Warrior to women veterans and women first responders.
We hope you all stay tuned for future analysis and our application of this important feedback. We thank everyone who participated in the survey for their honest and timely input!
Sometimes you never know unless you ask...so we asked! We wanted to know the top reasons why women veterans and women first responders connect with us.
Sharon, an Army veteran, attended multiple retreats with us and serves as a volunteer working information tables and taking photos. She simply responded, “I’m a smart cookie. I know what’s good for me.” Another veteran shared, “I am just having a hard time lately. Y’all have helped save my life. I made friends in Humble Warrior that really care about my well-being.”
To obtain a more evidenced-based response, on September 28, 2020, we conducted a benchmark poll of our graduate community to identify the top reasons.
The top 4 reasons for connecting with Humble Warrior:
2019 has been an incredible year. We have been humbled by the support of our donors and the heart of our retreat and workshop participants.
Below are our highlights and photo gallery
of our 2019 events.
Hosted five 3-day retreats serving 37 veterans and first responders. We thank our VRBO owners in Big Canoe, Jasper, Georgia; Lake Oconee, Greensboro, Georgia; Two Rivers, Wisconsin; Red, White and Bear Cabin, Hiawassee, Georgia; and Lake Lanier, Dawsonville, Georgia.
Provided each participant with the resources and encouragement to incorporate the skills learned during the retreats into their home lifestyle and self-care routines. We created a Humble Warrior Retreat Graduates Private Facebook page to encourage continued connections and support as well as a forum to ask questions and post additional information, resources, and tips to maintain their new lifestyle skills.
Hosted two journaling workshops. The first for veterans and their families at Camp Twin Lakes, Winder, Georgia and a second event at the VA Women Veterans Symposium combining the modalities of journaling and meditation in Attitude of Graditude.
Taught 60 donation based yoga classes in support of Humble Warrior; 2 Veterans Day Free yoga classes in support of Warriors at Ease Poses & Pledges.
Guest Speaker and hosted a vendor tables at the Vetlanta Q3 Summit focused on Women Veterans Living an Authentic Life; VA Women Veterans 2019 Fall Health Symposium in Riverdale, GA. Raquel (Co-founder and Director) was a guest speaker at the Vetlanta Q3 and provided the closing remarks at the VA Health Symposium.
Carmen (Co-founder and Director) served as the guest speaker for the GA National Guard’s Hispanic Heritage Month Program.
Supported the community through participating in 5K walk/run supporting a retreat graduate's charity run in memory of her son and raising awareness of Congenital Heart Disease and a 10K walk/run for cancer. Published 12 wellness blogs on our website. Sponsorsored two deployed women with Christmans and Holiday care packages. Sponsored one woman veteran to attend Equine Assisted Therapy at the Peach Pit. Donated to United Military Care in honor of Dr. Amy Stephens, who has been our "behind the scenes" Humble Warrior.
Continued to gain new credentials with Raquel completing Holistic Nutritionist Certification, 500hr yoga teacher training, and Warriors at Ease Level 1 (trauma sensitive yoga) certification. Raquel and Diane also completed the Warriors at Ease Retreat Train the Trainer program.