YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The communication gap between women in the military and women at home will narrow this weekend in Yorktown Heights.
On Saturday, Intersections International will host the third all-women Veteran-Civilian Dialogue at Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. Developed in 2008, the Veteran-Civilian Dialogue is a form of “community building and social healing focused on addressing the cost of conflict in our society,” according to a press release from Intersections International, a non-profit organization. The three-hour live event, beginning at 6 p.m. at Hilltop Hanover Farm, features equal numbers of veterans and civilians speaking candidly about their experiences.
“The whole idea behind it is to let women and men at home know you can talk to veterans and we have a lot to talk about and it can do a lot for all of us as long as we’re open to it,” co-facilitator and veteran Mary Wagner said. “We wanted to do this for women only because it’s such a rare thing that female veterans and civilians get a chance to speak about so many of the issues that are on their minds.”
Wagner, a 35-year Air National Guard veteran, said she sees the role of women in the military changing and that the issues are only going to grow if there isn’t a continuing healthy dialogue at home.
“We’ve never had one of these outside of New York City and we wanted to bring in women from Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester and all over the Hudson Valley to speak about the issues that are important to them,” Wagner said. “Our theme is ‘Sister Spirit’ and we’re going to allow women to get together and open up about those issues that are troubling them in a way they’ve never talked about it before.”
The goal of the event is not just to open up a dialogue but also offer real avenues for healing, said Rebecca Summers, manager of the VCD program.
“There’s a huge cultural gap out there that we’re trying to bridge but also get to the point where these groups are meeting and seeing where we want to go from here,” Summers said. “We’re using a variety of methods to get this dialogue moving. While it can prove therapeutic but we’re not focusing on therapy we’re focusing on keeping the dialogue going long after the event is over.”
Those interested in registering for the program are asked to call Mary Wagner at 845-522-0331. Those looking to learn more about Intersections International can visit the group’s website .
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