By Jackie Green
Wounded Warrior Project, Livestream Fundraising & Gaming Manager
People across the country are struggling with loneliness and seeking connection, warns a recent announcement by the U.S. Surgeon General. The advisory highlights “the public health crisis of loneliness” and notes that approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness, even before the pandemic.
Many Veterans face this same challenge as they transition to civilian life. In fact, the latest Annual Warrior Survey from Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) shows that nearly 7 in 10 (66.3%) WWP-registered warriors are lonely.
Through WWP’s Stream to Serve program, livestreaming and gaming has become an effective way to address this challenge and help Veterans connect with others, while also empowering supporters to raise funds for wounded, ill and injured warriors.
What is WWP’s Livestreaming and Gaming program and who can get involved?
WWP uses livestreaming and gaming to connect warriors and their families to lifesaving programs and services, while also giving them a chance to game and stream what they love. Many Veterans are comfortable in this space, and their passion for streaming and gaming has created a low-barrier pathway to learn more about available support.
Army Veteran Ricky Olguin had a tough time after he was medically retired from the military. When he found WWP, he started to participate in weekly gaming events, and he eventually became a WWP gaming volunteer. He now hosts events where he can give back to other warriors and his community.
“I felt useless, like I didn’t want to be alive,” Olguin said. “I decided to get help and was told to sign up with Wounded Warrior Project. Gradually, my life got better. Overall, being a part of Wounded Warrior Project has been an amazing experience.”
Through WWP’s Stream to Serve initiative, the organization also empowers supporters to stream while raising critical funds for warriors and their families. For example, WWP recently held its Capture the Flag campaign, a three-week livestreaming event that extended from Military Appreciation Month in May to Flag Day in June.
How can people get involved?
Post-9/11 wounded warriors and their family members can register with WWP via the organization’s Resource Center online or via phone. Once registered, warriors and their family members can express interest in WWP’s livestreaming and gaming activities. The organization will connect them to upcoming opportunities.
Veterans and streamers can get involved in events simply by visiting WWP’s Twitch page. For those just venturing into the livestreaming world, Twitch is a free social media platform where viewers can follow organizations and people that interest them. They do not need to have a Twitch account or be registered with WWP to join the fun!
Those interested in streaming on behalf of WWP can learn more here.
What to expect after registering?
Veterans who participate in WWP’s livestreaming and gaming activities find strength through community and a low-barrier tool to cope with stress. Similarly, streamers find a community of supporters helping warriors get back on track and become a positive force in their communities.
With programs like livestreaming and gaming, WWP meets Veterans where they are on their journey to recovery and helps them reach their highest ambitions.