In celebration of Independence Day, the Greater Naples YMCA hosted the first annual Read,Y & Blue event at the organization’s Medical Center on the Healthy Living Campus. The event promoted patriotism and literacy to nearly 60 preschool children through collaboration with local Veteran, medical and literacy organizations. Representatives from Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, were in attendance.
Home Base is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds for Post-9/11 Veterans, Service Members and their Families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. Since inception, Home Base has served more than 9,000 Veterans and family members with care and support, trained more than 25,000 clinicians, educators and community members nationally and remains at the forefront of discovering new treatments.
As Home Base serves the entire Military family, including children, the event was in perfect alignment with Home Base’s mission.
After the preschoolers recited the Pledge of Allegiance with General (ret.) Fred Franks, Home Base Senior Advisor and Southwest Florida Honorary Director, he shared stories and read them a section of When Washington Crossed the Delaware.
General Franks invited two recent Veterans to join him while reading to his attentive group of American youth. Home Base Southwest Florida Program Managers Armando Hernandez and Home Base Fellow Laura Anna Hartman.
“Teaching the future generation about literacy and patriotism along side General Franks was an experience that changed how I view our community,” Hartman said.
Jaime Fernandez, Home Base Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist, manned the show-and-tell booth where he showed the preschoolers how to play catch.
When the Southwest Florida Home Base team is not helping educate children, they help run the Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program. The program is a free, six-month program for up to 60 Post-9/11 Southwest Florida Veterans annually. Warrior Health and Fitness is designed to help Post-9/11 Veterans improve their physical health and well- being through supervised physical exercise and education on healthy eating, living, sleep hygiene, stress management and the health benefits of physical activity. Upon graduation of the Warrior Health and Wellness Program, the Greater Naples YMCA generously provides the Veteran and their Families a complementary annual membership.