Recently, Adaptive Athlete Michael Kacer and one of our Community Ambassadors (OCA) traveled to Maryland to help out at a weekend program at Farming 4 Hunger. The program was a reminder that there are so many different ways that we can spread the Operation Enduring Warrior mission and bring the idea of empowerment to a wide audience.
Farming 4 Hunger is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to feed the hungry and help feed the soul.” They run a farm that does a wide variety of community service related events. They grow food donated to local families, reach out to individuals who are in the criminal justice system to help teach them a set of skills and give them a sense of purpose, and so much more.
We were so excited when we learned the details of the event. It was a day retreat for high school athletes. The students and several of their coaches came from neighboring high schools. They spent a full day at the farm participating in a wide variety of events. The day kicked off with a speech by Michael. He spoke to the students about his struggles both before and after his injuries. The silence that fell over this large group of high school students was a testament to the power of Michael’s word.
After the speech, there were a few team building events and then the students were broken into four groups. They spent the rest of the morning rotating through several “stations”, including helping farm, distributing food to visitors of the farm, listening to life stories of individuals who have pulled through hard times, and a workout circuit.
This workout circuit was where Michael and the OCA really got to do their thing. Leading the kids through a pretty brutal circuit workout, they demonstrated exercises, coached, and motivated the kids to push through the heat and take their fitness to the next level. It was wonderful to be able to laugh and sweat with the kids and show them, through Michael’s example, that they can do anything they set their minds too. Check out this link for a great video that demonstrates the teamwork and fun that we had that day: https://www.facebook.com/Farming4Hunger/videos/966863546764106/
Through this event, Operation Enduring Warrior was able to reach out to a group we do not have consistent exposure to – high school kids. Additionally, we connected with the parents and coaches, none of whom had ever heard of us before. On top of all that, were able to make connections with other organizations whose missions we can connect with ours to best serve our veterans.
If you are a Community Ambassador and have an event that you think would be a great opportunity to spread our mission and you would like some support, join us. Please reach out to our OCA liaison, Tito Piñeiro, for information on how the team can help. There are no sufficient words to fully express the feeling that you will get from attending an event and seeing the impact that Operation Enduring Warrior has on everyone who gets involved.