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Guest Post by: Renee Mair
Where does our story begin? In the middle – right here – right now.
We are completing our first official year of activities in our effort to establish our footing in the battle for PTSD Awareness. We have made great strides in establishing our not-for-profit status and reaching out to all areas affected by PTSD, including the military, police, fire and EMS. Taking this on while working full-time jobs is a challenge but we are forging on and continuing to grow each day.
Why do we do what we do? Everyone has a personal story to tell. Our collective history goes back to many wars and the stories from our ancestors give us a foundation from which to build. Presently, we have friends and family currently in high risk occupations such as military, police, fire and EMS. One director is a volunteer firefighter who has seen first-hand how the loss of a firefighter can affect the whole department – PTSD is very real here. Our technical advisor is ex-military and our friends are currently overseas while others are serving our local communities as police and paramedics: the list is numerous and this makes this topic very personal to each one of us. These groups have the highest rate of PTSD and the strongest reactions when affected. We now fight for the mental health of those closest to us and the necessity for resources to be made readily available when called upon. We have a long road ahead of us but this is the course we have chosen to take.
No battle is fought alone and PTSD Awareness is no different. Through continuous support from incredible Volunteer Directors and Technical Advisor, generous corporations and volunteers from the community, we have had the privilege of hosting some unique events. One of the key aspects of fundraising we have recognized is “donor fatigue”. Everyone is bombarded on a regular basis with requests to support and donate to an increasing number of organizations. In order to address this concern, we have chosen a few key fundraising activities that will continue throughout the year and at regular intervals. Online auctions and para cord bracelets will be a constant fixture for Many To One.
One of our newest events has been speaking with students in a local high school about PTSD and we have been invited back to speak to them again next semester. We are taking a grassroots approach here in addressing a serious topic with our next generation of military, police, fire and EMS. This will help give them the knowledge of what to watch for and where to go for resources if needed.
We are currently exploring how we can best share the resources that are currently available nation-wide. Based on our in-house expertise, we are exploring the use of an online resource system which will be accessible to all who need it. We are becoming more and more aware of the need to share what exists in our communities as many are unaware that resources are currently available to them right now.
In order to maximize the effects of our collected donations, we have teamed up with larger organizations. Donations are redirected to their organization based on their solid track record in lobbying for PTSD Awareness and their willingness to help us tap into existing resources. As we continue grow, we will become more integrated in these activities as we encourage government and community involvement in establishing better resources for all sectors affected by PTSD. We want to ensure every dollar donated is properly utilized and is used to serve in the best way possible through our collective efforts.
Our future holds no bounds. We are continuously looking for ways to bring PTSD awareness to each household and to the offices that have the capability to make significant changes. With the support and enthusiasm of our volunteer board, advisors, other charitable organizations, corporations and many others, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Our future is tied into the effort and success of each organization that works towards PTSD awareness. Together we will all make a difference.
About the author: Renee Mair started her career in the Not For Profit sector with Goodwill Industries in 1993. She moved on to Aerospace and Automotive but the Not For Profit work stayed in her blood. She joined forces with Neit Arms (now North Eastern Arms) in 2011 to start the donation drive that would soon become Many To One. Her desire to focus on PTSD is directly related to her friends and family that are in the military, police, fire and EMS. While working full-time, all her extra attention is given to Many To One and working with other organizations that share her desire to make PTSD Awareness known in all communities.
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