This summer, UCLA Operation Mend took another step toward removing barriers to care for warriors by giving their children the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles together with their families. Children of patients participating in the intensive treatment program this past July were enrolled in the UCLA Recreation Summer Camp for three weeks, while their parents focused on what they truly needed to do to heal: participating in Operation Mend’s Intensive Treatment Program for PTSD and mild TBI.
"Finding childcare can be a serious barrier to warriors seeking intensive treatment. For our warrior families without childcare resources at home, or who do not feel emotionally able to be away from their children, providing a quintessential summer camp experience for their children was a perfect solution," said Dana Katz, Volunteer Director of Community Engagement and Buddy Programs for Operation Mend.
Thanks to UCLA Spark, UCLA’s official crowdfunding site, Operation Mend was able to reach into its online community and explain that with their support, the program could raise enough funds to help these families heal together while in Los Angeles.
The Operation Summer Camp campaign raised close to $50,000 this summer thanks to the generosity of 81 donors in 13 states. In addition to covering airfare, hotel rooms, food, camp fees, back-packs and supplies for all of the warriors’ children, the Spark-raised funds were also used to cover the cost of weekend outings for families and program participants, activities during which children were encouraged to build their own community alongside their parents.
Since 2007, UCLA Operation Mend has provided advanced surgical and psychological medical specialty treatment for post-9-11-era warriors injured during combat operations or while training for service, as well as comprehensive psychological healthcare and social support for both wounded warriors and their family members.
In 2016, in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project as a part of the Warrior Care Network, UCLA Operation Mend launched an intensive, structured treatment program for service members/veterans who have suffered service-related traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and/ or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The six-week program begins with three weeks on the UCLA campus and is designed for warriors who require more than regular outpatient care as part of their treatment plan. Offered at no cost to veterans and their family members, program provides a path to long-term wellness and improves the way warriors are treated today, and for generations to come.