By Eric Thomas / Special to The Malibu Times
Nonprofit organizations Harvesting Happiness for Heroes, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.) and MilitaryConnection.com recently joined forces in Malibu to host military widows from across the nation.
The collaboration was part of a three-day Hollywood retreat called, “Glamorous Getaway for Widows, Widowers, & Widowed Significant Others.” The getaway featured a photo shoot with celebrity photographer Brian Bowen Smith, a visit with actor Gary Sinise on the set of the television show CSI: NY and, finally, some fun in the sun in Malibu.
“This retreat is more than just outdoor activities. It was designed to provide an environment that can help survivors connect with others on a parallel journey,” said T.A.P.S. President and Founder Bonnie Carroll.
The final day of the Hollywood retreat included a fun-filled beach day in Malibu. Retreat attendees were taken for a scenic drive up Pacific Coast Highway, took surfing lessons at Zuma Beach and enjoyed a gourmet luncheon at the Malibu home of Lisa Cypers Kamen, founder and executive director of the Harvesting Happiness for Heroes organization.
The Harvesting Happiness for Heroes organization provides support services to military personnel and their families challenged by combat trauma and post-deployment reintegration issues.
“Our goal is to promote positive psychology and use coaching tools to facilitate greater well-being,” Kamen told The Malibu Times.
During the luncheon, retreat attendees reflected on the new bonds made and the benefits gained from taking part in recovery programs like T.A.P.S. and Harvesting Happiness for Heroes (known as HH4Heroes for short).
“What’s great about being here is that we are able to have fun and connect with fellow survivors in a safe and comforting environment,” a Detroit widow told The Malibu Times.
The luncheon ended with closing remarks and gift bags from Kamen, who told attendees that her hope for them was to “Say yes to life and live out loud audaciously and bodacious.”
Next on the agenda for the organization is a collaboration with Groupon Grassroots from Aug. 20-26 to launch the HH4Heroes Reboot Campaign. The campaign aims to raise funds so the organization can activate an online positive psychology coaching program.
To become a Harvesting Happiness for Heroes partner or to donate to the Reboot Campaign, visit HH4Heroes.org and groupon.com/deals/grs-harvesting-happiness-for-heroes. All donations are tax deductible and keep services free for soldiers and their families.