Vermont veterans creative arts festivalThe American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Foundation granted $2,500 to assist White River Junction’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) with the local Veterans Creative Arts Festival earlier this year. Veterans Creative Arts Festival (VCAF) grants aid in the wellbeing of veterans by introducing them to art therapy.

Thirty-eight veterans benefited from the local VCAF program in White River Junction, Vt. “As a first-time chairman for this program, it gave me great pride in knowing that the ALA Department of Vermont could give extra items to the program,” said Janet Osmer, an active ALA member who serves on the board of trustees for the Vermont Veterans’ Home.

Osmer took time to ask a few veterans about their creative arts interests to get an idea of the types of materials they would like to work with. She also spoke with the recreation therapy chairman at White River Junction’s VAMC about the veterans’ varied interests in art.

The ALA Foundation grant helped the ALA Department of Vermont provide specific arts and crafts items, that, without the grant, would not have been possible, and allowed veterans to receive materials specific to their creative interests.

“We purchased items which had not been done before – ceramics, leather, wood-burning pencils, color books, engraving tools, a rotary tool and sandpaper, as well as colored pencils, paints, canvases, paint by number and velvet painting,” Osmer said.

The event proved to be a rewarding day, according to Osmer. “I was proud of the kindness and compassion the veterans showed to all of us,” she said. “The show went great, but the smile on their faces and in their eyes was all I needed to see.”