As COVID-19 (coronavirus) has grappled all of our lifestyles, that hasn’t stopped some from getting creative when it comes to continuing mission outreach efforts.

In collaboration with American Legion Auxiliary Arizona Unit 62, the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation, Veterans First, the Arizona Arts Commission, the City of Peoria, Ariz., private charities, and individuals, the Heal Her Art Women Veterans Wellness program hosts monthly social gatherings at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. During these gatherings, 25 to 30 women veterans from all military branches and walks of life participate in free painting sessions. This program was made possible with assistance from an American Legion Auxiliary Foundation grant.

“One of the things women veterans benefit from with our program is the social aspect of being with each other and getting support from each other,” said Arizona Unit 62 member Marge Christianson.

In March, their event was cancelled as COVID-19 continued spreading rapidly, and social distancing guidelines were put into place. So, they improvised and came up with a new plan to stay connected.

Since early April, members of the program have taken part in a two-hour virtual painting session. Instructed via Zoom, participants were guided step by step on how to create their own canvas painting.

“We felt compelled to figure out a way to stay connected with these women so they could stay connected with each other.”

Marge said she embraces the capabilities thanks to technological advances.

“Technology has enabled us to do things we haven’t thought of,” said Marge.

Marge said she would like to see the virtual events continue once the pandemic slows down, “particularly for those who are homebound or in geographies where we can’t make physical events feasible,” she said. “The ability to connect with people without leaving your home is such a wonderful opportunity.”