Four dozen veterans had the opportunity to show off their talents during the 2018 Veterans Creative Arts Festival (VCAF) at the White River Junction VA Hospital in Montpelier, Vt. With the help of a $2,500 American Legion Auxiliary Foundation VCAF grant, the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Vermont was able to buy arts and crafts supplies.
As a way to recruit more participants, the department used a variety of methods to spread the word, including television, radio, social media, posters, and the traditional word of mouth.
ALA Department of Vermont Assistant Secretary Stacey Cannizaro said the biggest challenge is convincing veterans that they do possess talent, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to showcase it. “This is a very good program for the body and soul,” she said.
Some of the talent even spurred emotions for Janet Osmer, an active ALA member who serves on the board of trustees for the Vermont Veterans’ Home. “A veteran sang a song he had written and sang with so much feeling – I had tears.”
Osmer said the program makes veterans feel worthy. “You can see them light up when they have accomplished something they felt they couldn’t do when they started. This is a great program for your mind, love, and most of all, self-confidence.”
To learn more about the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation’s Veterans Creative Arts Festival grants and how you can apply, visit www.ALAFoundation.org/grants.