by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Acceptance is mission critical. That's what the officials behind the LGB servicemen's and women's website, Military Acceptance Project, believe. Last month, Kristen Kavanaugh, co-founder and executive director of MAP, is happy to report the organization has turned a year old.
'One year ago today, we launched the first MAP website,' Kavanaugh said in a March 23 email to supporters. 'It focused primarily on LGB service members, the repeal of DADT and reached thousands of people.'
All service members and veterans deserve acceptance and equal treatment. Many of them endured years of mental, emotional, and physical stress because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, faith, and/or trauma survivor status - all while serving our country. 'It's our duty to ensure that they receive the support they deserve,' say MAP officials.
The MAP provides direct support to service members past, present, and future. 'From resources, educational information, support groups, and referrals to low/no cost counselors outside those provided by the military or Veterans Administration, our goal is to help foster healing and promote acceptance of self and others within the military and the community,' said officials.
To celebrate their anniversary, MAP launched a brand new website, MAP 2.0.
'It includes a sleek new interface and our expanded mission that serves not only those who are LGBT but anyone who may be treated as 'other' in the service of our country,' said Kavanaugh.
The new website (www.militaryacceptanceproject.org) has been completely redesigned both inside and out, from fresh images, sleeker designs, and easier navigation to more resources and information on the emerging Acceptance Curriculum. Over the coming months, Kavanaugh says users will notice additional content, resources, and updates on the work the organization has been doing.
'From the beginning, MAP knew we would serve anyone who was marginalized in the service of our country - for any reason,' said Kavanaugh. 'As you will see on the new site, we've called out key groups that we are initially focused on.'
Those groups include but are not limited to women and Transgender persons, race/ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, and trauma survivors (PTS and MST).
'We will continue to offer resources, groups, and information online, but will also begin providing more on-ground services such as drop-in groups, training experiences, one-on-one services, and much more,' she said. 'You will also see our outreach efforts grow as we find innovative ways to reach those who may need our support.'
On March 23, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) honored both Kavanaugh and the Military Acceptance Project with awards. Kavanaugh was named 'Up and Coming Social Worker' and MAP was designated 'Hero Organization' of 2012.
'This is an incredible honor, especially coming from our peers - fellow social work leaders,' said Kavanaugh. 'We are deeply grateful for their support and recognition.'