The Washington DC Veterans Medical Center Hospital Massage Event happens in late October each year. It is an opportunity for American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) therapists to celebrate two things at once: National Massage Therapy Awareness Week and Veterans Day. A group of local therapists volunteer their time to provide free massage services to the staff at the VA Hospital.
Q: How did you first find out about this effort?
A: A representative at AMTA contacted me and asked if I’d participate as a volunteer. My father, my grandfathers, several of my uncles and other extended family are Veterans. The service they provide to our country is close to my heart.
Q: It meant so much that you’re doing it again this year?
A: Yes it meant a lot. The medical staff who work at the VA center really give their hearts and souls to the patients. We can help the patients by helping the staff. And this year, I was asked to take over actually planning the event. I was very grateful for the opportunity.
Q: Wow! Planning is a whole lot different than participating. What made you say yes to that responsibility?
A: I was inspired to say yes for two reasons. Owning my own business has turned out to be more challenging than I ever imagined. And, I was kind of whining a little bit about how hard it is. My professional mentor suggested to me that gratitude is a wonderful way to turn my whining, which is of course, nothing more than fear of failure, into a more positive outlook and set the stage for growth and greater success. So, I started a gratitude list!
It does help tremendously, and of course, you have to have things to put on a gratitude list. When I was asked to take over planning, I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate in a real-work (more than making a list) way that I am grateful for my family, my country, my freedom and my business. There are many places in the world where I would not be allowed to establish a business of my own! I am a pretty good networker. After I said yes, it didn’t take long for me to find two other great therapists ready, willing and able to donate a few hours to care for the staff who care for our veterans everyday.
Q: And how about next year?
A: We are really looking forward to it! The staff at the VA Hospital are always so appreciative when we come. Next year we are hoping to get approval to work with some of the patients at the hospital who may also benefit from massage therapy. I’m not sure what’s involved, but I’m sure we’ll learn a lot as we try to expand the effort to include them.
Thank you Jennifer for all that you do!