The American Widow Project: A Social Network that offers Hope and Healing By: Amanda Montgomery
In these unsettling times amidst a global recession, as nations wage war on terrorism fronts both domestically and abroad, sources of comfort often seem distant, unattainable and a lost cause.
Two years ago, Taryn Davis became an American widow at 21, just 18 short months after she married her high school sweetheart. Feeling isolated, a burdening grief led Davis to seek out various community groups, where she hoped to find solace and support from other women.
Davis quickly saw that as such a young widow, the difference in age between the group members and she was more alienating than aligning. Surely, Davis hoped, there were others like her out there.
Other young women who had been newly married before visions of a future with their soul mate were dashed before they could even begin to dream.
A short period after her husband’s passing, Davis turned to the MySpace community and in October 2007 set out to interview fellow military widows in six cities- all of whom she’d met via the Internet.
In the weeks that followed, 600+ members slowly began to open up and share their own narratives and form an online community aimed to help heal an unimaginable hurt felt deeply by all.
By posting pictures, essays, videos, and memoirs amongst each other this community of fellow military widows interactively began lifting one another up online and then later in real life.
The American Widow Project also hosts several other outlets via social media that serve as additional ways to connect their members together. Their Twitter account has over and their Facebook Fan Page boasts 16,500+ fans.
They also host a Podcast series, Blog, YouTube channel, and Poetry/Song Forum – all celebrating the memories these women carry from their past and remember in the present.
The origins of this incredible organization grew from online relationships across the nation, but the American Widow Project also serves the ‘military-widow’ community in real life as well.
The AWP sponsors nationally spread out, fun-filled ‘get-away’ weekends that include group activities, tears, laughter, personal growth and thinking about the future.
As a culture awash with technological solutions for everything, it’s paramount that connections made across virtual communities help establish support networks in different capacities like the American Widow Project has done.
For within this social network, as a community member you’re surrounded by those who understand and come from a similar circumstance, you’re able to find resources, and most importantly enjoy camaraderie with other women who will inspire and help you go through this life-altering context.
Virtual communities originate for any number of reasons, but the common goal remains the same: to bring like-minded individuals together as a way to share ideas, support one another and inspire those perhaps struggling with a challenge in life.
And thanks to the American Widow Project, those struggling in a new generation who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, now have a place both online and in real life where they can open up and share stories, tears and laughter…Military Widow to Military Widow from around the country; A powerful concept that blends social networks together with strength in numbers.