My name is Jennifer Street and I am a Team Leader with the Lone Survivor Foundation(LSF) Retreat Program. My background is in clinical social work and I have been trained as a certified trauma professional since 2010. I started with LSF as a contract behavioral consultant in 2012. In 2016 I accepted the position of Team Leader, relocated to Texas, and began overseeing retreats at our Crystal Beach Retreat Center. My role involves not only providing our therapeutic opportunities, like Accelerated Resolution Therapy(ART) and Equine Assisted Therapy(EAGALA), but I am also responsible for the schedule, logistics, and running the retreat on the ground. In addition, I recruit, train, and schedule our excellent team of contractors who make every retreat possible.
When I am not at the Crystal Beach Retreat Center, I routinely train our LSF clinicians in the ART technique and run a monthly meeting of LSF clinicians who are becoming experts in ART. I am also busy doing outreach to the community regarding our program. This includes chairing the Combined Arms Wellness committee (a collaboration of veteran mental health providers in Houston), attending networking events, conferences, speaking engagements and educating providers and veterans about the services we offer.
When I am not on retreat, preparing for retreat, training contractors, or doing outreach, you will find me spending time with my crew (husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs), enjoying my recumbent road bike, playing, writing and listening to music, or enjoying the constant stream of amazing musicians that come through Houston!
I began working with service members, veterans, and their families in 2010 as part of a Department of Defense (DOD) research study on treating trauma with Accelerated Resolution Therapy. The study had such amazing results that my entire clinical practice began to consist of sharing ART with active duty service members and veterans. Seeing the relief that ART brings to so many people who have selflessly served our country made me want to do anything I could to ensure every veteran has access to ART. In the retreat environment, I get to see veterans and their families start out discouraged and sometimes hopeless, to leaving with not only relief but a plan on how to recover when they head back home. It is a reward that no words can describe.
The answer to the question “what keeps you coming back to work with LSF” is most definitely our retreat participants. From laughing and playing cornhole to sitting with the toughest memories of war, they exhibit courage and perseverance in the face of life long challenges that are the result of their sacrifice to keep me and my family safe. This work is the least I can do to say thank you.
In reflecting on a particularly moving family retreat, I remember arriving at the airport on the last day. I had to climb into the back of the van to sit with a 9-year-old young man who didn’t want to leave. He shared how much he enjoyed his family being together all weekend, playing games with each other, and having a good time as a family. He talked about how much he loved the other kids, the staff and the food. He didn’t want any of that to end. I cried too after he left. Those are precious memories and often times major turning points for our participants and their families. And that is just one of a thousand stories.
What I would like to share with our supporters is a resounding THANK YOU. Retreats don’t happen without your support! I have had numerous retreat surveys say things like, “this retreat saved our marriage,” “this retreat is the reason my family is still together,” and even “this retreat saved my life.” You can’t put a monetary value on life because it is priceless. Know that your donation of time, resources, money, and your prayers make those comments possible.
To learn more about the Lone Survivor Foundation therapeutic retreat program, please visit https://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/service-members/