What an enriching year 2022 has been! Humble Warrior was honored to provide the following support and services:
1. Published 12 wellness-centric newsletters and 12 blogs supporting over 545 subscribers.
2. Served as guest speaker and provided on-site yoga classes for the Georgia Women in Public safety Conference supporting 177 participants.
3. Served as guest speaker for a Veteran's Day gathering at Switzer Library in Marietta, GA.
4. Hosted the first ever "Women in the Water!" at the Georgia Aquarium where 5 groups of women veterans and first responders snorkeled and SCUBA dove. This event celebrating Women's History Month was a wonderful partnership with LifeWaters nonprofit and GA Military Women.
5. Conducted a "Be Sweet to Your Feet" Kit & Class for 25 participants.
6. Hosted 3 newcomer Wellness Retreats supporting 30 participants.
7. Hosted 2 alumni Wellness Retreats supporting 20 participants.
8. Provided a 6-week online iREST (yoga for sleep) course for the community providing classes for 15 participants from 4 different states.
9. Facilitated 2 online "Train Your Brain" workshops supporting 26 participants.
10. Instructed Breathing Practices & Yoga to Oconee County Fire Station members and a follow up on Veteran's Day workshop at the Oconee Public Library.
11. Provided scholarship, resources, and private trauma-sensitive yoga classes for a first responder.
12. Represented a resource table at Dobbins Air Base's Prevention of Sexual Assault & Harassment and again for their Fall Festival resulting in over 60 conversations and interactions.
13. Received the Disabled Veterans National Foundation capacity-building grant for the second year in a row.
14. Supported numerous events to share mindfulness, trauma-sensitive yoga, guided journaling, and plant-based eating.
It is with pure joy and God's blessing that we are celebrating our 4th year of connecting with women veterans and first responders to share wellness practices in small groups! We thank everyone who has connected and supported us in all manners. A big thank you to all of our donors, partners, mentors, and creative team. A truly special thank you to all of our past and present board members: Diane, Teresa, Carmen, Stacy, Claire, and Raquel. The amount of time, energy, talent, and resources shared is truly incredible and appreciated by women who serve and have served.
Take a look at our Anniversary Video on YouTube to take a look at some of the amazing memories we've made in the last four years. We can't wait for what comes next!
On August 29th, Humble Warrior provided a trauma informed yoga class for the Women Initiate Self Healing and Hope (WISH) organization. WISH helps women gain support, insight, and strength from other women who have experienced domestic violence. WISH also provides safe refuge and other support resources.
The coordinators, JoLynn and Elizabeth, welcomed us and joined us. The participants shared a favorite takeaway at the end of their practice and were encouraged to incorporate this yoga practice into their lifestyle wellness routine.
For more information about WISH, visit them online: WISH
As part of a Servant Leadership Conference, we had the wonderful opportunity to provide our Humble Warrior Mindful Leadership Workshop to Mitsubishi leaders. Mindfulness techniques were woven into leadership topics of feedback, burnout, and team awareness and practiced onsite. We thank Dr. Marianne Greenfield for inviting us once again to teach and explore wellness. If you or your company is interested in this 75 minute workshop, please contact our Chairwoman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GA Association of Women in Public Safety (GAWPS) held its 2022 Conference at the beautiful Brasstown Valley Resort April 18-21. Over 170 women attended from various areas of public safety to include: Fire, Police, EMS, Dispatchers, Probation Officers, Corrections, Department of Natural Resources, and various state agencies.
Humble Warrior Chairwoman, Raquel Durden, served as their Keynote Speaker highlighting mindful leadership and provided morning and evening yoga classes. We were honored to support and attend this important event. A special thank you to Executive Director Police Chief Courtney Gale for inviting us and to GAWPS President Cheri Akselsen and the Board of Directors for organizing an amazing conference focused on resiliency.
We are thrilled to announce that the inaugural "Women in the Water!" event at the Georgia Aquarium was a huge success. Over March 12-13th, certified SCUBA divers and experienced snorkelers participated in an amazing underwater experience intended to provide adventure, support, connections, and great memories for women veterans.
This could not have occurred without several non-profit and veteran service organizations joining forces in recognition of Women's History Month. Three women veteran empowered organizations had a vision for this unique event: Humble Warrior Wellness and Yoga Inc. (Humble Warrior), LifeWaters nonprofit, and Georgia Military Women (GMW). The turnout was incredible with over 40 women veterans attending. Women flew in from Colorado, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin to join local Georgia women veterans. A warm welcome and inspiring messages were provided by leaders from the partner organizations: Jill Campbell, LifeWaters Vice President and Director of Training, Dr. Amy Stevens, Founder of GMW and US Navy Veteran, and Raquel Durden, retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and Humble Warrior Chairwoman. Having the support of the newly appointed Georgie Veteran Services Commissioner, Patricia "Trish" ross, was a delight as she shared reflections from her first 100 days in the position.
Over the two-day event, two dive groups and four snorkel groups shared the water with gentle giants such as whale sharks, giant manta rays, a rescue sea turtle named Tank the Turtle, and more. Tess O'brien, a US Navy veteran shared, "This was by far, the most amazing and humbling thing I have done." LifeWaters specializes in SCUBA diving training for disabled individuals (veterans, first responders, and civilians). The SCUBA diving skills are adapted for each disabled diver. As a nonprofit, they rely on donations, grants, and their volunteer dive staff to provide this wellness resource and experience. This was an adventure of a lifetime. We are so proud to say that women veterans made a BIG splash in the Georgia Aquarium and in the lives of other women veterans.
Please visit LifeWaters to learn more about this amazing partner organization!
We share a heartfelt thank you to our inaugural Secretary Teresa for her dedicated and humble service of three years! Teresa created our firm foundation for our nonprofit with detailed reports and meeting notes that kept us both transparent and legitimate. As our primary teacher for guided journaling as a wellness practice, Teresa openly shared her testimony and cultivated a greater sense of peace, love, and joy in all of us. Teresa shared, "It has been a true blessing to be a cofounder of and to have served on the executive board of Humble Warrior for the past three years. I am honored to have met each and every one of you amazing ladies who attended a workshop or retreat. I pray God will continue to bless Humble Warrior and everyone they serve." We are thankful and grateful for your service, and Team Humble Warrior wishes you and your husband a multitude of peace, love, and joy!
Celebrating Women Veterans
By Martina's Images Photography
She may be a dancer, a doctor, or a mom now. Whoever she is now, she also once served her country with honor and grace. She is a military veteran.
Women of all ages, ranks, and levels of authority serve in all branches of the U.S. Military. Over two million veterans in the United States today are women. Unfortunately, all too often we overlook these women who served alongside men, and much of the public still equates military veterans with men. Being a retired veteran myself, I have experienced many instances where I was believed to be the wife of a Veteran and not the Veteran.
As a photographer, I felt I could contribute in a small way to bring the much-deserved attention to women Veterans, and so the "She Served" project was born. She Served is a celebration of military women, an acknowledgement of everything they accomplished while serving in the military, and recognition of everything they are still accomplishing today. Almost all the women I photography still have a servant heart and serve their community in one way or another. By creating a portrait that portrays who they are now and sharing a little about those incredible women, I am hoping that many more people will join me in recognizing and honoring all our women veterans.
I invite you to take a moment and page through my virtual magazine to get acquainted with these incredible women veterans. And, if you know someone who you would like to be recognized by the She Served project, feel free to nominate them by emailing me at email@example.com. I can't wait to meet and photograph many more of these amazing women.
Martina is a USAF Veterans and Professional Photographer
Click here to check out the She Served Project or visit Martina's Professional Photography Page Martina's Images
We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday by taking time to reflect on what you are thankful for this year. Our biggest "Thank you" of the year goes out to The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) who awarded us a grant that enabled us to reach out and provide for women veterans in new and meaningful ways.
Thank you DVNF! You have made this year amazing for us at Humble Warrior and all the women veterans we were able to connect with and support.
Start a new Veteran's Day tradition with The Veteran National Anthem
What creates community? There are many answers, but most enduring traditions revolve around sharing a story, an experience, or a tradition. Takosha Swan, a combat veteran, is spearheading community and unity with her song. Takosha is sharing The Veteran National Anthem to service members and veterans through "The Worldwide Veteran Anthem Tour!" She is working to make this song become the official national anthem for veterans and service members. The anthem serves as a salute to all service members, veterans, and their families.
We invite you to start a new tradition this Veteran's Day by listening to The Veteran National Anthem
Takosha Swan is an Iraqi war veteran, but she wears many other hats too. She's an author, entrepreneur, composer, singer, and veteran supporter.
Listen to The Veteran National Anthem performed by Takosha Swan and the Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Grant Gilman
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.
Through the year, we have also gained partners. We are proud to partner with Red, White, and Bear Cabin - Operation Appreciation and Tru-Spec.