Kansas State University


Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families

GratitudeAmerica Urban Retreat offers support for veterans

Jessica High, Kali Summers and Caysi Gatts attended the first GratitudeAmerica Military Support Urban Retreat in Chicago in March. The purpose of the retreat was to promote community based non-profit integrative intensive retreats for service members and their support persons in the Chicago area.

Interns Jessica High, Kali Summers and Caysi Gatts
Graduate students  Jessica High and  Kali Summers with Caysi Gatts, intern.

At the Union League Club of Chicago, 13 veteran/caregiver pairs included veterans and their spouses, parents, or friends. The veteran participants were comprised of active duty and retired military members from all branches.

The Institute’s role was to conduct research and assist with retreat logistics and programs.

The GratitudeAmerica Military Support Retreats are designed to provide education, life skills and community building to increase support for service members and their primary support persons. The curriculum acknowledged the strain deployment can place upon the service members and their families and the various ways they can be impacted throughout sacrifices, fears, and demands they face with their caregiver throughout the deployment cycle. Their approach is therapeutic in nature, but is not psychotherapy or counseling. If participants identified they desired additional services for themselves or their families, community resources were made available.

Events during the retreat included a visit to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, time to explore the city, yoga, iRest meditation, acutherapy and service dog visits. This was the 6th retreat conducted by GratitudeAmerica.

Funding support for Institute staff was provided through a grant from the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development and from private K-State Foundation donors. We thank them for their support of our work with this national program that serves military and veteran families!