Caring for Our Military Families Long after the Retreat Ends

Written by Project Sanctuary social worker Thomas A. Costello, LCSW, CAPT (RET), USPHS (

All of life is lived in relationship with other people. What brings meaning to life is the quality of these relationships. We’ve all heard the quote that “no man (or woman) is an island,” which brings this point home. When you complete a Project Sanctuary retreat, you start new relationships with other veterans, family members, volunteers and staff. Often heard on the final morning of a retreat is “never say goodbye.” You may leave the retreat with a new sense of belonging and a sense of being a forever family member of Project Sanctuary.

The needs of veterans and their families can be complex—financial, social, psychological, medical, legal—needs that are unique just as families are unique. Project Sanctuary values the therapeutic gains made on retreats; however, we also recognize that the process of becoming a healthier family is an ongoing one. You have the option of staying in touch with us, and you may consider reaching out and establishing relationships with other organizations. There are many non-profit organizations and governmental entities whose missions are much like Project Sanctuary’s—to promote the health and wellness of military families.

When you complete a Project Sanctuary retreat, you will receive an email from me (, asking how we may be of further assistance in supporting your goals of being the healthiest veteran and healthiest family you can be. In some cases, we are able to be of direct assistance, depending on the nature of the need and how our assistance can improve the overall quality of your life. In other cases, the best interventions we can provide are information and referrals to other organizations better suited to assist you in your given situation. When you respond to the follow-up email, I will contact you for more specific information and then research the best resources we are aware of to help you with your needs. We have identified many resources and organizations across the United States to address a whole spectrum of veterans’ needs, and we have expertise in finding counseling professionals for veterans and families.

Even if you have not yet completed a retreat, if you feel Project Sanctuary can be of help to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The same social work outreach services may be available to you prior to your retreat if needed.

I learned long ago that it’s not who you believe in that makes the difference in your life; it’s who believes in you. The staff members and volunteers of Project Sanctuary believe in you. If you need help, let us help you. We all struggle, but by struggling together, we become strong—Project Sanctuary strong.




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