Each issue in this section, the editorial staff of Military Embedded Systems will highlight a different charity that benefits military veterans and their families. We are honored to cover the technology that protects those who protect us every day. To back that up, our parent company – OpenSystems Media – will make a donation to every charity we showcase on this page.
This issue we are highlighting Higher Ground, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that aims to help returned veterans and their families through recreational therapy and outdoors challenges to achieve what it calls “whole-life healing.”
Higher Ground was founded in 1999 as an offshoot of a program begun in Idaho that coached skiers with disabilities how to use adaptive skis and specialized equipment. Program directors were dismayed to learn that of the 22 million veterans who live in the U.S., 22 die by suicide every day; one in three suffers from depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges; and many family members and children of people with post-traumatic stress are likely to show PTSD symptoms of their own.
Recreational therapy for veterans and their families can take the form of skiing and other snow sports; boating, surfing, and white-water rafting; equine therapy; fishing, ropes courses, and hiking; or other sports including tennis, archery, and martial arts.
The organization runs recreational therapy programs in Sun Valley, Idaho; the Los Angeles area; and New York state. According to Higher Ground, the attendees take on new challenges and share experiences with others in their group. Once the participants head home, Higher Ground guarantees that they can stay active in recreation by providing the equipment and finances needed. The group also commits to three years of follow-up with the veteran and family, with check-ins, community support, and resources to aid them as they integrate back into their world.
For more information on Higher Ground, please visit www.highergroundusa.org.