Wednesday, May 20, 2020

“I can, I will… watch me.” female veteran, VA employee and miracle mentor

VA employee empowers her women Veteran peers


Department of Veterans Affairs
VAntage

“For women feeling alone, I want them to remember that their feelings are just as important as their male counterparts, and that there are many people and resources who are there for them." Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado
VA’s Center for Women Veterans is advancing a cultural transformation throughout VA and aims to serve as a portal – monitoring and coordinating VA’s benefit services, outreach and programs – for women Veterans. One advocate is Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado, a VBA employee and Army National Guard Veteran, who empowers other women Veterans with her mantra, “I can, I will… watch me.”

While Gorbulja-Maldonado found a purpose raising money for homeless women Veterans and their children by participating in Ms. Veteran American, advocating for business resources through Veterati, working with the American Legion, and presenting at workshops and conferences and more, she’s also worked to get her own women Veteran peers to actively engage with VA’s Women’s Health Services, the Center for Women Veterans, and the Office of Suicide Prevention.

Since the suicide rate for women Veterans is approximately twice that of non-Veteran women, and recent studies have shown the rate of suicide to be higher among women who report having experienced military sexual trauma (MST), Gorbulja-Maldonado’s mantra stresses setting the example for others to follow – including coming to VA.
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