Established in 2009, the Veterans Support Group at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) is an activity group helping incarcerated military veterans.
The support group also includes a Military Family Support Group offering valuable education about services available to veterans and their families.
The group’s mission fosters improved self-worth and positive attitudes through peer interaction, support, group counseling, workshops, seminars, and lectures.
CCWF Veterans Support Group activities
Over the years, the group has been actively involved in various events at CCWF such as:
- Troop Day: A physical fitness event reminiscent of basic training.
- Gifts for Vets: Sending care packages to veterans with funds typically generated from sales.
- Toys for Tots: An annual holiday gift initiative.
- Crochet Project: Assisting homeless veterans and those in hospice care by supplying crocheted clothing and blankets.
- Color Guard: Honoring military traditions.
Veterans appreciation banquet
On Nov. 30, CCWF and the Veterans Transition Center will host a Veterans Appreciation Banquet. During this event the center will bring guest speakers who will be providing a new dog tag to every veteran at CCWF, reaffirming their pride and identity as veterans. There are currently around 20 incarcerated veterans at CCWF.
Lynne Acosta, a former member of the VSG and now employed by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, reflects on her time in the Veterans group.
“My experience in the veterans group at CCWF was one of camaraderie and support that veterans need, regardless of their situation. It was a place to share experiences that only veterans understand,” Acosta said. “I felt that, at times, my incarceration was a heavy burden, yet you’re always a veteran, and the group reminded me of that. Also, I knew every veteran in the group was available for support anytime. I appreciated the color guard also and our troop days we had.”
Current Veterans Support Group facilitator L. Roberts, an incarcerated person, spoke about the group’s commitment to other incarcerated veterans.
“Even though we are all in here, we never forget our people and where we come from. We proudly serve,” Roberts said.
Submitted by Courtney Waybright, Community Resource Manager
Central California Women’s Facility