According veteran/ veteran spouse/Warrior Spirit Project Ambassador Liz Willis,
Warrior Spirit Project was established on July 6, 2015, by president and founder Charla Truesdale. Spending two decades working with the military gave Charla a firsthand look at the stress and trauma that service members often face and she wanted to create opportunities for them to find healing and relief. The mission of Warrior Spirit Project is to help restore the soul and strengthen the spirit of military, veterans, and first responders in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area through non-traditional, holistic approaches. These approaches include trauma-informed yoga and iRest®meditation, trained emotional support dogs, therapeutic gardening, and community connection through social engagement.
As an all-volunteer non-profit, Warrior Spirit Project is fueled by the dedication and heart of its people. Many of the volunteers that work with our organization initially came in search of relief and healing for their own lives. One such volunteer is Vietnam Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Gene Morrissey. Having been diagnosed with PTSD, Gene used a regular meditation practice as a way to cope with his symptoms and find mental clarity. When he heard about the iRest® meditation that Warrior Spirit Project offered, he decided to give it a try. “I was amazed at the result. So I came back for more, and the results kept getting better!”
Gene soon realized that he wanted to offer this same kind of relief to his fellow veterans, so he jumped on board as one of the organization’s most active volunteers. Gene now serves as an iRest® facilitator and shares these meditations with his peers.
In December of this year, Warrior Spirit Project is set to launch their very own yoga teacher training. The focus of this unique training will be on the stress and trauma that veterans and first responders often experience and how the practice of yoga and meditation helps relieve these symptoms. Research continues to surface about the benefits of yoga in the warrior community. Many are experiencing a decrease in anxiety and depression and an increase in focus and mental health.
Retired NCIS agent David Truesdale says “One of the nicest things is the stillness and calm that I find during my practice. This feeling remains with me long after the practice.” To train veterans and first responders to teach yoga to their peers means that more warriors in the DFW community have the opportunity to find this same kind of calmness in their own lives.
The donations received from North Texas Giving Day will go directly to the Warrior Spirit Project education fund. Veterans and first responders that apply for yoga teacher training would have the opportunity to receive full or partial scholarships to attend training. Tuition fees including books, curriculum, facility space, and qualified instruction would be covered in whole or part through available scholarships. Expanding the mission of Warrior Spirit Project in this unique way creates a far-reaching opportunity for healing and impact deeper within the warrior community.
* Photo credit: Dena Scott Photography ** Graphic/photo provided by Warrior Spirit Project *** Photo credit: Darrin Waller **** Photo credit: Atali Samuel Photography
In ten years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $240 million into the North Texas community. In 2018, more than $48 million was raised through more than 157,000 gifts benefiting over 2,700 area nonprofits.