As the number of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines suffering battlefield wounds continues to grow, today’s economic challenges continue to squeeze military support nonprofits. Project Valour-IT—which has supplied over 6,000 severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines with adaptive laptops and other devices to aid their recovery and reintegration—is addressing that squeeze with a fundraising technique it pioneered: online competition.
Held July 1-14, the Valour-IT fundraising competition will draw on blogging, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to raise money and awareness for the needs of wounded troops. Divided among four “virtual teams” named in honor of U.S. military service branches, participants will also use flyers, word-of-mouth and traditional media outlets to spread the word. The goal is to raise at least $100,000, which will meet increased demand for Valour-IT services through October 2011.
“Project Valour-IT changes lives,” says Soldiers’ Angels founder Patti Patton-Bader. “Wounded heroes report that being able to use a laptop helps them feel whole again. Physical therapists are actually designing therapy sessions around Wii Sports! And something as normal as a handheld GPS reduces stress and helps a hero cope. It’s just amazing what this project does!”
Each of the devices Valour-IT supplies helps restore confidence and independence for a wounded hero. Voice-activated laptops reconnect the wounded with the world and develop self-confidence by showing soldiers they can continue to be engaged and productive despite their injuries. Servicemembers also use the laptops to research their medical care or prepare for a post-military career. Physical therapists report Wii Sports is extremely motivational and beneficial when used in physical therapy settings, and wounded personnel with short-term memory loss due to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and severe PTSD use GPS systems to keep from getting lost or disoriented when they move on to more independent living.
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All funds raised go directly to wounded troops with no overhead costs removed, and requests for support are vetted through case managers.