VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A new event Friday in Virginia Beach will bring a wide variety of resources together in one spot for active duty military and veteran families, particularly those that address mental health.
The event from the P.A.V.E. the Way Coalition will be held at YMCA Camp Grom at 1181 Prosperity Road from 5-8 p.m. It’s free and open for all in the active duty and veteran communities.
The coalition started through a partnership between local nonprofits Trails of Purpose, a charitable organization that works with horses to provide a therapeutic outlet for veterans, and the Step Up Foundation, which raises awareness about the effects blast wave and other traumatic brain injuries have on servicemembers.
“We saw there was a pretty big gap in collaboration, so in an effort to take siloed non-profit resources and bring them together we created the P.A.V.E. the Way Coalition,” said Kayla Maureen Arestivo, the president and CEO of Trails of Purpose.
Arestivo says more than 20 different community organizations will attend, including an inpatient mental health provider, so “the military community can get to know them, get information and find out their services, or maybe just have it in their back pocket for utilization should a friend of theirs, a spouse, someone down the line or themselves need support.”
But it’s not just mental health resources. A local veteran fishing organization and other groups will be there, in addition to several food trucks, a bounce house, cornhole and more for the whole family.
“Camp Grom is obviously a beautiful campsite … it’s got a lake we can walk around, it’s really just an opportunity to do something with the family or by yourself and also just get some good, supportive resources,” Arestivo says.
She says if this pilot program is a success, they’d love to make this a quarterly or biannual event in the future.
This all comes as Trails of Purpose continues to provide free mental health resources to service members in the wake of recent suicides of U.S. Navy sailors assigned to the USS George Washington and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center. Trails of Purpose says they’re helping 100 individual service members every week.
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