Vietnam War veteran and Zen Buddhist monk Claude AnShin Thomas often speaks of the traumatic impact of war on veterans. Reliance House, a nonprofit providing community based, person-centered mental health services, was so moved by the mindfulness practice and healing message that Thomas offered at Omega's 2014 Veterans, Trauma & Treatment Conference that they wanted to bring those benefits directly to veterans in their own community.
Reliance House has been serving southeastern Connecticut for three decades. They served 44 veterans in 2014 and their Supportive Housing program currently serves 15 homeless veterans.
“It was an amazing experience,” Alisa Herget, Reliance House's Supportive Housing director said of the conference. "The information I brought back to Connecticut has been incredibly helpful in providing support to our veterans. The veterans conference at Omega also inspired me to arrange a Yoga for Veterans class at the Supportive Housing program. Several veterans have taken advantage of this and felt improvement in their wellness after completing the class.”
“The Omega conference also allowed me time to speak with Claude about the veterans program at Reliance House and ask him if it would be possible for him to visit someday,” she said.
Shortly after her return to Connecticut, Herget arranged a four-day visit with Thomas at Reliance House. In May 2015, he will lead workshops at Reliance House and in the Norwich community, and will give several talks throughout eastern Connecticut. During his visit, Thomas will provide teachings on mindfulness, healing, and transformation, and plans to work directly with veterans living in homeless veterans housing facilities.