From left: Reverend Judy Shaw, Pat Lanza, Stella Serpa, Camille Murphy
Stand Up for Women Veterans
The Stand Up for Women Veterans event, sponsored by Lanza Family Investment in Veterans Empowerment (L.I.V.E.), is based on the national Stand Down program design and adapted to meet the unique needs of women veterans and their families. Through guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and the Trauma-Informed Care Guide, This collaborative effort of passionate leaders and agencies from throughout the Hudson Valley brings together resources and supportive services to improve service provision for women who have served in the military.
“By offering our women veterans a full variety of local services that fulfill their needs as former service members but also as women, caregivers, wives and mothers, the Stand Up program invites our vets to connect with their peers and access resources helpful to their lives”
Camille F. Murphy, Executive Director of Women’s Research and Education Fund
The History of Stand Up for Women Veterans
Patricia Lanza, founder of Lanza Family Investment in Veterans Empowerment (L.I.V.E.), recognized the incredible need for an event to honor and commemorate women veterans. As the daughter of a career Army Veteran, Mrs. Lanza knew firsthand of the sacrifices made by members of the United States Armed Forces.
Through a partnership with the Women’s Research Education Fund (WREF) and Family Services of Westchester (FSW), Mrs. Lanza learned of the Stand Down model being used to serve at-risk and homeless veterans across the nation. The Stand Down events taking place around the country had proven very successful in reaching veterans and connecting them to resources. The term “Stand Down” is a military term used to describe a temporary period of respite when combat forces cease-fire in order to recoup. Although Mrs. Lanza wanted to offer a peaceful and relaxing space for women veterans, she felt it important to also mark the event as a celebration where women could take pride in their roles as military service members and veterans. With an interest in honoring the sacrifice and service of women veterans specifically, it was decided that the women veterans’ event should be titled Stand Up.
The name Stand Up for Women Veterans embodied a spirit of hope and empowerment, and it followed the invaluable guidelines set forth by the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau Trauma Informed care Guide. In an attempt to meet the unique needs of women veterans while also celebrating and thanking them, the first ever Stand Up for Women Veterans event was held on June 7th, 2013. Service providers from the government, private, and not-for-profit sectors came together to support women veterans by connecting them to a variety of services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals for additional services such as housing, employment and mental health treatment. In addition, spa services, childcare and free gift cards were provided to the women veterans who attended. Because of the event’s success and the incredibly positive feedback from attendees, the Stand Up for Women Veterans has been established as an annual event that will continue to honor women of the Armed Forces.
About Family Services of Westchester (FSW)
For nearly 60 years, Family Services of Westchester has helped to strengthen and support over 2 million children, individuals and families. As a leading provider of mental health services throughout Westchester County, FSW addresses the needs of our friends and neighbors through every stage of the lifecycle. From Early Head Start Programs to intergenerational, therapeutic services for older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s, FSW is there, every step of the way, offering compassionate and confidential care in warm, safe and welcoming environments.
With seven sites throughout the County, FSW is accessible. Whatever the questions may be regarding the challenges and struggles that you or a loved one may be facing, FSW is the answer. As an umbrella organization that provides an array of assistance through over 50 programs that address life’s challenges, FSW is your resource for information and support to overcome and triumph over any obstacle.