SAN DIEGO, CA (April 12, 2014) The arts have long been one of the most effective tools we have to help veterans regain a sense of themselves after returning from combat, or any other trauma from their years of military service. On May 16, Soldiers Who Salsa (SWS) will host its annual spring fundraiser at the San Diego Women’s Club, featuring a showcase of arts as therapy for veterans from Soldiers Who Salsa, Combat Arts and Resounding Joy Inc.
Attendees will have the chance to see, hear, and experience first-hand the positive effects of the arts for our military veterans. SWS students will perform a dance showcase, a remarkable feat for anyone struggling with PTS/PTSD, or for veterans with prosthetic limbs. Artwork created by post 9/11 combat veterans in the Combat Arts program will be on display, while music from the Semper Sound Band, part of Resounding Joy Inc.’s music therapy program is played. In addition to the arts showcase, a SWS graduate, Sgt. Juan Valdez, USMC (Ret.), will be a guest speaker. Sgt. Valdez was himself a combat-injured veteran, who served in both OEF and OIF and received, among other awards, the Purple Heart.
“There are no words powerful enough to compare with coming and seeing and experiencing how the arts are transforming veterans’ lives,” said SWS Executive Director Jennifer Ables. “We can tell people about the changes we see in class participants, or even share testimonials, but it won’t ever be as significant as coming to an event like this and actually seeing them dance, or play music, or display the art they’ve created. Without question, it will be a very enjoyable evening, and I really expect people to walk away seriously affected by what they’ve seen from our veterans.”
The event will start at 6 p.m. with the arts exhibition and cocktail hour with music provided by the Semper Sound Band, followed by the guest speaker at 7 p.m. Throughout the evening Cuban inspired appetizers and drinks will be served, and there will be a silent auction with many items donated from local vendors. Then, at 8 p.m., the dance floor will be turned over to U. S. Navy veteran Manny Cepeda and the Manny Cepeda Orchestra for live music and dancing until 10 p.m.
Tickets cost $50 and include all aspects of the evening; military veterans receive a $10 discount and will need to bring their military ID to the event. Anyone who is interested, but unable to attend the event, can purchase a ticket and send a veteran local to San Diego on their behalf. For more information, and to purchase tickets online, please click here. All proceeds from the event will directly support veterans through SWS’ nationwide program of classes.
SWS’ mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of active and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families through a unique program incorporating therapeutic and social dancing with a variety of music and professional instruction. Classes started in 2010 at Naval Medical Center San Diego and have since spread to eight other locations from coast to coast. All classes are provided at no cost to the patient, and are fully funded through donations and grants. For more information about Resounding Joy Inc. please visit resoundingjoyinc.org, and for more information about Combat Arts please visit combatartssd.org.
Founded in 2010, Soldiers Who Salsa (SWS) is a 501(c)(3) charity that uses dance as therapy for wounded, ill and injured military service members at military medical facilities. The programs began at Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA, and have since spread to eight other locations from coast to coast. All programs are provided at no cost to military service members through the generosity of donors. The mission of SWS is to enhance and enrich the lives of active and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families through a unique program incorporating therapeutic social dancing, with a variety of music and professional instruction.