The Red Badge Project: a way for veterans to tell their stories - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Red Badge Project: a way for veterans to tell their stories

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WALLA WALLA, WA - An alternative therapy for veterans based completely on storytelling...that's what the Walla Walla Public Library is doing. It's the only library in the country that hosts a creative writing workshop to give veterans a healthy outlet.

The Red Badge Project was founded because of the high rate of suicides among veterans. One of the founders, Tom Skerritt, a well-known actor, thought this unique approach would be a healthy way to teach veterans to cope with their PTSD.

"If veterans could be given a voice, could have an avenue for telling a story, that they might benefit from that and it's proven to be true," said Beth Hudson, Director of the Walla Walla Public Library.

With a VA hospital in Walla Walla, Hudson says she felt it was a natural connection for her to inquire about the Red Badge Project. The workshops are led by established writers, actors and members of the media.

One veteran, who now goes to the workshops every week, was already a published author before finding out about the Red Badge Project. Scary children's books are his forte, but it wasn't until he published his first book about his military experiences that he heard about this project that's been helping him express his thoughts.

"It's therapeutic," said Don Roff. "It's very meditative. Usually when I'm going through a difficult time I find journaling is probably one of the best things for me. It's just like meditation, it's like your own kind of therapist."

Whether you're a published author or have never written anything in your life, the Red Badge Project is what you make it. It's simply going somewhere where you know people will support you.

"I think this program is a very safe program," said Hudson. "It's an accepting, safe environment to come and explore the ideas of putting some of your ideas on paper. And a chance to tell your story with a very supportive group of people who have been through similar situations."

"It's just important to express yourself again and get your voice back," said Roff.

Workshops are held at the Walla Walla Public Library on Fridays from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

You can contact Beth Hudson, the Library Director at 509-524-4433.