The New Jersey District’s Advocacy Focus for this year is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to support our soldiers who have come back from war and have trouble assimilating to a normal everyday lifestyle due to the difficult events they have experienced. To support our cause, clubs do not necessarily have to raise money but simply spread awareness of how profound this issue is throughout many people's’ lives that we do not acknowledge.
PTSD was chosen because as a subcommittee, we realized how much our soldiers do for our country and how many people try to help support the brave men and women while they are away from home by sending care packages and holiday letters. What do we do to help our soldiers once they are home? Twenty percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. From 2005 to 2009, more than 1,100 members of the Armed Forces took their own lives, an average of 1 suicide every 36 hours. This is something we need to focus on. Not only are these statistics painstakingly shocking, but they also lead us to think of the families that are struggling to support their military family member dealing with this newfound battle. Children of deployed military personnel have more school, family, and peer-related emotional difficulties, compared with national samples. By advocating for PTSD, we are not only able to spread awareness of finding help for our American heroes in need, but we can also make the lives of those families who go through such times of hardship just a bit easier by having a better understanding of their situation.
What does the Advocacy Subcommittee do? The Advocacy Subcommittee works to raise awareness about the New Jersey District’s Advocacy Focus. The Lieutenant Governor of Division 7, Hannah Nivar, and Lieutenant Governor of Division 21, Courtney Vita, correspondingly serve as the co-chairs for this subcommittee. Together they have helped mold the District’s Advocacy Focus for the 2016-2017 service year, and they are always looking for new and better ways to improve it.