HGLA Testimonial Tuesday
The month of September brought two Day Programs (Beach Volleyball and Pool), serving a total of 22 veterans to Higher Ground Los Angeles.
As always, each of our Day Programs begins with “Breathing and Stretching”. Our veterans, who ranged in ages of 47-80 years old on our Pool Day Program expressed a feeling of accomplishment and physical ease as they moved their bodies in ways that they hadn’t in some time and for many, in ways that they did not think was possible any longer. All veterans in the group immediately began to bond with one another and were eager to jump into playing pool. Benny, whose prosthetic leg was in process of getting refitted strategized with staff to determine the best route to play pool. He was not willing to see his current use of a wheelchair as an obstacle and maneuvered in the ways that worked for him, expressing gratification of being able to play pool, which he hadn’t in some time.
The group focused on “Building Bonds”, the theme for the day and through smiles, laughter and having conversations with others who they see on a regular basis, but have never spoken with, they did just that…Build Bonds.
“We all have a shared experience now. Something that we have done together”, one veteran expressed. Another veteran, who is 80 years old expressed that he has a heart condition and is currently on the transplant list, so was grateful to engage with a group of his fellow veterans over one of his favorite hobbies. The group continued their bonding over lunch as they explored the importance of relationships and feeling connected, relating their experiences to bonds that they once had in the service. Each veteran left, feeling more connected, more gratified and reconnected to recreation.
HGLA’s Beach Volleyball Day Program saw a group of veterans ages 30-80 soaking in the last of the Southern California summer. This group didn’t hesitate with jumping right into learning beach volleyball basics, modifying movement for what would work best for each person, and quickly went from learning new skills to some very friendly competition.
Our veterans expressed feeling a sense of peace at the beach. Some took pictures to send to their grandchildren, all made the most of their experience by truly embracing learning beach volleyball and many made the best of their experience by reminding themselves of the power of nature and connecting with others.
“This is the best time I’ve had in awhile. I’m so glad I came” – Garey, USMC veteran