Hi, my name is Dennie Naprava. Originally from the small town of Brooklyn, Connecticut, I now reside in Drums, Pennsylvania with my husband, Robert, and our daughter, Giavanna. Most days, you’ll find me homeschooling Giavanna, teaching yoga, and concocting ways to make it on the television show, Survivor, which is my ultimate dream.
I’m a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having served as a Corrections Specialist at both Camp Pendleton, CA, and Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan. Although I had aspirations of making the Marines a lifelong career, my time was cut short after being sexually assaulted by a fellow Marine. Once separated, I began seeking ways to cope with Post Traumatic Stess Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and unfortunately kept turning down one wrong path after another. It wasn’t until I was introduced to yoga and meditation that I finally felt a sense of ease and peace in my life, and I knew in my heart that I wanted to help empower others as well.
I became a Certified Yoga Teacher in January 2015, and am now a 500hr Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher. After completing the Veterans Yoga Project Teacher Training with Dr. Dan Libby in 2015, I was asked to join the team as a VYP Ambassador. That connection is what led to my position with Lone Survivor Foundation.
I’ve been teaching yoga for LSF for four years, and I’m honored to be a part of the healing that takes place during the retreats. The retreats, for me, are about more than teaching yoga and mindfulness techniques. I get to bond and connect with fellow veterans, and am involved with the education groups and day-to-day activities. The modalities offered at LSF are top-notch, and the retreats are so much more than getaways from everyday life. They provide participants with valuable tools they can implement in their lives to create a better future for themselves and their families.
I’ve spoken with numerous retreat participants who’ve shared about their experiences with other veteran organizations, and although helpful, they’ve said that LSF has made the most impact. That’s why I get on a plane and leave my family for 5 days at a time. To see the newfound hope in their eyes makes me so proud. They’ve sacrificed so much for all of us, and they deserve our support now more than ever.
Looking back at all of my retreat experiences, there are so many that will remain in my heart throughout my life. Just recently, on the final night of a retreat, we gathered around the fire pit. As one participant strummed the guitar, others sang, and some shared stories, and we all laughed. To see the transformation that occurred in only a few short days was inspiring. The power of human connection truly lifts the human spirit. In that moment, it was clear to me that I was exactly where I was meant to be. Not only do I get to be a contribution during the retreats, but the retreats are a contribution to my continued healing and growth as well.
Lone Survivor Foundation Retreats are offered to service members, veterans, and their families at no cost. Know that your contribution is changing and saving lives. Whether you’re donating your time, your money, or sharing about the organization, you are what makes the healing at Lone Survivor Foundation possible. We couldn’t do what we do without your generous support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Lone Survivor Foundation leads veterans & their families on a path to healing from combat trauma. Learn more at https://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/service-members/