The goal is to give soldiers a continued feeling of purpose and means by which to be heard and understood through their own voice.
I wanted to thank you for this project. My dad, is one of Warren’s students. I have seen him dive deep into addressing his own PTSD and issues through Warren’s assignments more than he ever has in my entire life. I’ve seen him come out of a lonely and isolated shell and make friends and community. I’ve seen him get a better handle on his own anger and sadness and where that comes from. He’s writing for the first time since he was 20. I’m so grateful for this program, and I wanted to let you know what a difference you’re making in my father’s life. He was wounded by an abusive childhood and by his time in Vietnam, but you guys are helping him heal and I am deeply grateful for what you’re doing.”
– Red Badge Project Student’s Child
The Red Badge Project has inspired me to be more creative and take chances with my writings. Before I started participating in RBP, I was nervous to share my thoughts and ideas with anyone. My stories and poems have helped release some of that stress and tension that I carry with me as a veteran with PTSD. I still have trouble talking to people in my life about difficult emotions and memories, but I find the characters in my stories help express those raw emotions better than I ever could. Red badge Project has given me more confidence and has provided several new healing tools for my life long journey with PTSD.”
– Red Badge Project Student
Your devotion to teaching those of us about storytelling is significant in so many ways. For one person to make the effort you do to help myself and other members of the class and to do so over and over again is a testament to your true dedication to the Red Badge Project and to the community of veterans and military men and women. I guess to ‘cut to the chase’, I am trying to say THANK YOU from all the “ruthless bad guys” who get much more than just Storytelling out of your classes!”
– J. B. | Army veteran | Red Badge Project Student, 2014 to present
When we forged our partnership with the Red Badge Project (RBP), it was with exactly this idea in mind: to offer another type of therapeutic venue to help trauma survivors heal and gain strength in their “broken places”. Storytelling has long been used as a therapeutic tool to help lessen the burden carried by those who have experienced trauma. Finding one’s voice can serve to diminish feeling marginalized and diffuse the intensity of the traumatic memory. Thanks to the thoughtful and insightful instruction provided by Warren Etheredge with RBP, veterans participating in our class have been armed with critical skills that have enabled them to challenge themselves in a meaningful way.
Specifically, the conflict grid and nugget that Warren teaches gives writers a formula for translating a very private struggle into a character that is genuine and believable. Because Warren’s approach embraces that which is both personal and universal, the individual has the opportunity to feel transformed from a wounded veteran to an accomplished storyteller. Lastly, the content of Warren’s instruction is mirrored by his presentation style. He can provide constructive critical feedback that is accurate and honest, often accompanied by humor, and always respectful and encouraging. So despite feeling nervous or vulnerable, all the veterans in our RBP class have taken risks, sharing their stories and examples of their writing with others in the group.”
– Amy V Morris, PhD | Team Leader | Federal Way Vet Center
In February, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles hosted one of Warren Etheredge’s writing and storytelling workshops. Warren worked with LAFLA veteran clients to help them learn to express their psychological trauma and to regain the sense of mutual understanding and acceptance that too often is buried by the prolonged, solitary experience of pain. Modern warfare robs generations of young men and women of their innocence, leaving them profoundly changed upon their return home, with injuries that loom below the surface.
In a tradition that dates back to Hemingway, Warren is engaged in the labor of giving veterans the tools to create a sense of self, when the inescapable suffering of war has shattered old realities. For our veteran clients, Warren is a source of hope. He is a gifted storyteller who unlocks their ability to locate their inner voice, to speak with authority once more about matters of conviction and faith. We can’t think of a better candidate.”
– Silvia Argueta | Executive Director | Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
We listened to their (soldiers and veterans) stories about people who don’t know how to relate to them any longer because they’ve been altered so dramatically. We’re profoundly grateful these wounded warriors have the Red Badge Project to witness their stories. ”
– Sonya Lea – Red Badge Project Instructor