• It's hard to express in words how I felt after that experience, but I know I let go of something deep and feel that this experience is going to allow me to maintain that positive attitude while giving me the courage to live a meaningful life with my children.
    — Veteran Participant, Art Program
  • One day in the session did more for me than months of therapy.
    — Veteran
  • He continues to play this song on a daily basis. This was able to help him not only during the trip and in the days after but that he will now have something he can play during times when he is struggling. In that sense, the song has provided another avenue of healing.
    — Wife of a Veteran
  • The song allows m to convey a message held deep within and allows my loved ones to see a part of me they never have understood.
    — Veteran

CreatiVets currently offers veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) with two program opportunities - a songwriting program that pairs the veteran with accomplished songwriters in Nashville, TN to write a song that creatively expresses their story, and a three week art program with The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) in Chicago, IL where the veteran learns ceramics, painting and photography.

Through these programs, veterans learn the benefits of using art and music as a form of stress and anxiety relief.  They also create incredible artwork and songs that enable the veteran to tell his or her story in a way that creates something beautiful out of something tragic. In addition to the veteran participant's healing, other veterans, family members and members of the general public that listen to these songs and view these art pieces are able to connect with and relate to these experiences in ways that also promote their own healing and understanding.  


Veteran Spotlight

Blake Gilroy - "How To Come Home"

"The hard part about coming home isn't what I had to do when I put a uniform on, it was what I had to learn to do when I took it off."

+ Blake's Story

A common feeling shared among combat veterans is the anxiety and loneliness associated with coming home from war. Many veterans feel useless one they are done fighting, not knowing what else to do with their lives. They might also experience a sense of isolation being away from other people who understand their experience.

For Blake Gilroy, a Marine veteran of the war in Iraq, these struggles are all too real.

Blake served in the Marine Corps as an infantryman in Iraq from 2006-2007. During his deployment, he was involved in 3 IED (Improvised Explosives Device) explosions that caused him physical injury, and he also experienced the loss of good friends. Servicemen and women who experience situations like these often struffle the most once they return home. During war, these veterans must continue to do their jobs and try to stay alive - they must remain focused on the mission, without dwelling on the traumatic events they are experiencing. However, once they return home, these men and women have all the time in the world to reflect back on what they went through.

At the end of Blake's time in the Marines, he sought to go back overseas to fight in Afghanistan. He was denied this request, and decided to leave the military. Blake went home, not knowing what to do now that he was no longer Corporal Gilroy. Blake had no idea who the civilian version of himself was, or what he should be now that he was no longer an active-duty Marine.

In February of 2014, Blake participated in the CreatiVets songwriting program, where he went to Nashville and wrote the song "How To Come Home" with songwriters Ryan Creamer and Lance Carpenter. This song details the struggles Blake faced in coming home.

+ How To Come Home Lyrics

I can field strip any gun
Give me a target and it's one and done
I can keep my cool when things get out of control

I know how to breach a door
Clear a building floor by floor
All these tools of war, I can't use them anymore

They taught me how to fight, how to shoot, how to stay alive
How to win, how to save, how to take a life
They taught me everything I needed to know
But they didn't teach me how ot come home

That's when the war begins
Trying to find a way to fit back in
Getting calls from all my friends saying let's burn it down tonight
But I make excuses why I can't go
Cause I don't want to be back on patrol
They say they understand, but they don't know
It's all I know

They taught me how to fight, how to shoot, how to stay alive
How to win, how to save, how to take a life
They taught me everything I needed to know
But they didn't teach me how to come home

Didn't teach me how to numb the pain
How to make the dreams go away
Or how to say goodbye to my friend

But they taught me about the boots and the gun where I hung your tags
How to chose back the tears, how to fold the flag
How to fight, how to shoot, how to stay alive
How to win, how to save, how to take a life
They taught me everything I needed to know
Except the one thing I needed the most
How to come home

 

Every day CreatiVets is working to provide healing opportunities for veterans in need and empower them with tools to cope with the unseen wounds of war.

 

Partners We Work With

We are so grateful for all of the support that makes our programs possible.  A special thanks to: