Veterans’ issues proposal earns city resident $10K to capitalize on work

A Williamsport resident has been awarded a $10,000 grant for a proposal addressing the needs of veterans who feel isolated and need opportunities to publicly share their stories.

The award to Lynn Estomin, a graduate of Antioch College, is part of the Winning Victories Grant program at the school located in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

The Winning Victories Grant program was launched in January 2018 and is designed to support alumni initiatives that impact quality of life, public good, social justice and the environment in local, national and international communities through three awards: one $50,000 grant and two $10,000 grants.

The grant will underwrite regional writing and media retreats for veterans, many with post-traumatic stress disorder, to train them to document events and create personal digital stories.

It builds on a program that has worked with more than 5,500 veterans and families, to provide a community of peers with shared experiences, and to highlight marginalized and non-traditional voices of veterans often excluded from mainstream media.

Its long-term goal is for the general public to stop thinking the Veterans Administration will deal with veterans’ issues, and start taking initiative for community re-integration

“Warrior Writers is a national arts organization that utilizes creative writing and art to help veterans heal from the trauma of war,” Estomin, professor of digital art and design at Lycoming College, said. “I have been supporting the organization for more than 10 years as an advisory board member and by providing core communications services to the organization. With this grant, I will work with Warrior Writers to host 2-5 regional writing and media retreats for veterans (depending on funding). These retreats will kick off efforts to establish new Warrior Writers chapters in cities where we have interested veterans, such as Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Colorado Springs.”

Estomin said the veterans leave the retreats feeling empowered and connected as well as having writing and artwork that will help them better communicate with family members, loved ones and a nation that remains largely unaware of the sacrifices and experiences of veterans. Producing a DVD that represents a variety of diverse voices and experiences of veterans will show the civilian world that veterans are not the one-dimensional heroes-or homeless addicts-that they are often portrayed to be.

Intended for all types of initiatives, including business, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit, the Winning Victories Grant was envisioned and funded by Antioch College Trustee Matthew Morgan.

More than 50 applications were submitted by Antioch College alumni who are creating positive change in their communities and living up to the words of Horace Mann, the College’s first president, by “winning victories for humanity.”