Two months ago, I was on a Chive Charities team phone call with Richard Casper, the founder of Creativets. He was thanking our team for the hundredth time for the $25,000 grant. With child-like enthusiasm, he was telling me about how much he could do with this money; how many veterans’ lives he could change. And he is the expert in changing lives, because after his best friend was killed in active duty, Richard was pulled under the riptide of PTSD. He couldn’t leave his house, he couldn’t see friends and family. Life as he had known it was over, there seemed to be no way out. He’d have to make one.
Richard was becoming increasingly trapped inside his own world. He was bottling up issues that were eating him alive, but he couldn’t verbalize them. And they had to come out. He enrolled in some art classes and started playing guitar. Little did he know at the time, but that was his way out. The rest is Creativets history.
As we were about to hang up, I asked if there were any exciting events coming up in the near future. It just so happened, there were.
“Actually, and I still can’t believe this, but the Art Institute of Chicago reached out to us and offered to give three weeks of accredited art classes to veterans.”
“You’re kidding,” I said. “That’s awesome!”
“It’s a huge opportunity. When I started Creativets I never anticipated we’d be asked to do something like this.”
“We’re really happy for you, Richard.”
“Yeah, it’s great. There’s just one thing.”
“I don’t know how I’m going to get enough veterans to sign up in time.”
I thought for a second, then smiled. “Well, I’ve got some good news. I think we can help you with that, this is theCHIVE after all.”
So, we put up the story about Creativets on theCHIVE. At the end, we included a call-out. Any interested disabled veterans who were struggling from PTSD were encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Then, we waited. It wasn’t long before applications started rolling in. Before the end of the day, Richard had enough veterans to qualify for the program.
This marked a huge success for a small non-profit like Creativets. Richard was ecstatic that so many of his fellow veterans were open-minded enough to try something like this. He told me about Gino, a life-long Chiver who unfortunately had something very grave in common with Richard. Richard’s best friend Luke was killed in active duty. And Gino’s best friend Randy lost his long, fervid battle with PTSD, and took his own life.
He also told me about Drew, an EOD Technician whose story was less explosive and more a slow, compounding progression into the depths of PTSD. His symptoms were textbook: hyper-vigilance, insomnia, flashbacks to the vivid and horrific images of war. He sought out counseling because he could tell his personality had changed, but his issues continued to haunt him.
The influx of veterans had presented a problem none of us had seen coming: Creativets didn’t have the funds to fly out every veteran that had signed up. Because it took so much to even reach out and ask for help, Creativets vowed to pay for everything from the travel expenses to the lodging for 3 weeks. And they weren’t about to turn anyone away. Not when the stakes were this high.
I knew what theCHIVE community was capable of, we watch Chive Nation shatter our Flash Charity goals time and time again. And now Creativets needs our support to save the lives of the very people who sacrifice everything for us.
We need to raise $15,000 so in a few weeks we can send 9 deserving, Chiving, disabled veterans who are struggling with PTSD to Chicago. They signed up. They stepped outside their comfort zone. Some were talked into it by their wives, others were advised by counselors or friends. Some just knew they couldn’t do it on their own any longer. Whatever it took to get them to this point, the only thing that matters is that they’re here.
We’re going to take it the rest of the way.
Editors Note: In most cases we pride ourselves in ‘Hulk Smashing’ goals. It’s a hallmark of the site. In this case, we just need to bring this baby home, a gentle landing on the $15,000 mark will do the trick nicely, Chivers.