Motorcycle Ride Will Aid Writeface

The second annual motorcycle ride planned by Brandon Myer to benefit Writeface will be held on Saturday, June 17, at noon. Motorcyclists and others may gather at 521 Club, 2400 Butter Road, Lancaster, beginning at 9:30 a.m. to register and to partake of doughnuts and coffee. The group will gather before noon for a review of riding safety, and then the cycles and other vehicles will head to Fort Indiantown Gap. The ride will return to the 521 Club for a picnic.

Last year's inaugural event drew approximately 30 people, recalled Writeface co-founders Annie Ginder and Scott Hower. The day's extreme heat affected turnout, they suggested. They hope that this year's ride will have cooler weather and more riders.

There is a cost per motorcycle/vehicle for participation, and the proceeds will go to Writeface, whose mission is "providing venues for the voices of veterans." The organization has been operating for three years and has helped nearly 100 military veterans process their thoughts and feelings through writing. Ginder and Hower designed the curriculum, which they have implemented for various community groups, such as Veterans Victory House operated by Tabor Community Services in the Transitional Living Center.

Recently, Writeface has been working with Building Bridges in Conestoga, which offers equine therapy. Hower and Ginder lead veterans in writing exercises before they approach the horses, and they guide reflective writing afterward.

"It's been magical," Ginder said, reflecting on the impact the combination of equine therapy and writing has had on participants.

"It's an eye-opening experience, how a 1,500-pound animal can read you," Hower added.

Writeface has also offered sessions at the Columbia Creative Factory. Each four-hour session includes a meal prepared from fresh ingredients and the opportunity to take a 20-minute walk. The long sessions allow for participants to explore their own memories and emotions and to listen to others share theirs. Through writing and conversation, the hope is that veterans are able to lessen the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

"We don't care about spelling or punctuation," Hower remarked. "We just want to get the veteran writing. We're not there to judge."

"In this society, we don't allow room to process our feelings," Ginder said. "Our goal is to create a healthier spirit in (the veterans), their families, and their communities."

Currently, Writeface programs are offered exclusively to veterans. In the future, the programs may be available to military spouses. Non-military organizations have requested Writeface's services, but Ginder noted that those requests have been declined because they do not specifically relate to veterans.

The motorcycle ride fundraiser will help Writeface purchase the insurance required to operate, and it also will help to purchase program materials and the ingredients for the meals at the Columbia Creative Factory. Additionally, funds are needed to offset the expense of "train the trainer" classes Writeface offers to prepare facilitators to lead writing sessions. Hower noted that Writeface is a privately funded organization and does not receive government funds. A "sponsor-a-vet" program to cover the cost of tuition - which is free to participants - is being considered.

"We are changing the psyche of the nation one vet at a time," Ginder commented. "(We) need to wrap around (veterans) now that they've protected us."

For more information or to register for the motorcycle ride, readers may visit http://www.writeface.org, call Ginder at 717-799-0154, or call Hower at 717-209-0410.

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