WVI History Timeline

2008

  • WVI was created by a small group of women veteran advocates.
  • In December 2008, created an action plan to identify barriers to women veterans in accessing services.
  • The original goal was to give a voice to those concerns and homelessness.

2009

  • Coffee Talk started at the Audubon Coffee Shop in Minneapolis on April 16th.  Through those interactions WVI realized that the barriers were in accessing medical care in the VA health system, benefits, and services.
  • The idea of the “Sister Assister” program  started.
  • A number of surveys were conducted to learn about women veteran’s concerns with assistance from the MNDVA and the DVA Regional offices.

2010

  • The St Cloud VA region asked WVI to host a Coffee Talk series. For 4 months WVI volunteers traveled from the Metro area to host a Coffee Talk event in Sartel as part of St Cloud VA regional outreach.
  • Additional outreach efforts were developed.
  • WVI continued to promote the Women Veterans of MN, Memorial Day March, and Fall Luncheon.

2011

  • WVI co-sponsored the Learning and Living outreach series with the League of Catholic Women in Minneapolis discussing a variety of topics.
  • A relationship with “Freedom Farm” was formed and equine therapy was offered to women veterans. A congressional visit to the farm led federal legislative support for MST assistance.
  • The idea of a MN woman veteran license plate was formed and the WVI started exploring the possibility and attended legislative hearings.
  • Coffee Talk changed locations to Java Train in St Paul.
  • WVI was invited to participate and have two seats at the the table to be a voice for  women veterans at the Minneapolis VA Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).  The only other woman on the board was a spouse of a service man.
  • WVI worked legislative initiatives with MAG (Military Action Group).
  • Sister Assister was formerly endorsed by the volunteer coordinator at the Minneapolis VA.
  • WVI did media outreach to include 7 Star Tribune Articles, KFI Radio Show, Real Progress Cable TV Program, and an MPR Radio program,
  • Tabled at Boot Camp event, at the Mac-V metro Stand Down, the MN State Fair, and the “South of the Metro Veterans Program”.
  • The WVI Chair, Trista Matascastillo, was selection as the MN Woman Veteran of the Year.
  • The idea of a stand alone VA clinic for women was brought to WVI and they assisted in writing the proposal.
  • The Facebook page for WVI was created.

2012

  • Life Skills Seminars with the League of Catholic Women,
  • WVI coordinated with Place of Grace for a women veterans retreat.
  • Became tenants with an “office” at the Minnesota Women’s Building in St Paul on Rice Street.
  • Hosted the first WVI Holiday Celebration, Coffee Talk, MAC-V Metro Stand Down, State Fair, Boot Camp for Women Veterans, and multiple Veterans in the Arts Programs
  • WVI assisted in identifying women veterans for the MN WNBA Lynx to recognize
  • Partnered with Habitat for Humanity for a Women Veteran Build day
  • Continued efforts to pursue a MN Woman Veteran License Plate with WVI participation in the UVLC and MAG.
  • WVI continues to promote the Women Veterans of MN Memorial Day March and Fall Luncheon.

2013

  • WVI decided to pursue becoming a non-Profit, created an official WVI Board and designed the WVI Logo
  • Tabled at Place of Grace retreat in August, Coffee Talk, MAC-V Metro Stand Down, State Fair, and hosted a December Holiday Open House
  • The partnership with the League of Catholic Women resulted in another ‘Living and Learning’ series of workshops
  • WVI coordinated the Women Veteran Build with Habitat for Humanity,
  • Several WVI volunteers were recognized the the MN Humanities Center Veteran Voices Award program.
  • Efforts to pursue a MN Woman Veteran License Plate continued with WVI participation in the UVLC and MAG.

2014

  • Efforts to pursue a MN Woman Veteran License Plate succeeded!  Governor Dayton, WVI and its partner organization attend a ceremonial signing after the 2014 Legislative session.
  • WVI became a host partner with MNDVA for Boot Camp for women veterans in April.
  • WVI tabled at the MN State Fair and the Mac-V Metro Stand Down
  • Coffee Talk relocated to the Lucy Cafe in the DEED Building in St Paul
  • Legislative Grass Roots movement, relocated to  “Lucy Cafe” in the DEED Building
  • Hosted multiple Veterans in the Arts Programs.
  • WVI stepped up to sponsor the MN Woman Veteran of the Year award after no MN woman veterans was recognized in 2013. The 2014 Award was presented at the  Fall Tea hosted by the WVI in October.
  • WVI coordinated the Women Veteran Build with Habitat for Humanity,
  • WVI started a quarterly newsletter and Web site.
  • The WVI bylaws were drafted in January and approved in August.
  • WVI hosted an annual Holiday Open House at the VICTRI Build long but the VA campus.
  • WVI tabled at the MN History Theatre for the Lonely Soldier production.
  • There was WVI presence at a Red Carpet Walk for the the screening of An American Odyssey.
  • WVI had volunteers honored at the Veteran Voices Award Program.
  • WVI continues to promote the Women Veterans of MN Memorial Day March and Fall Luncheon.

2015

  • The MN Woman Veteran License Plate became available for purchase on 2 January 2015.
  • A Penny George Catalyst Grant was awarded to WVI, that assisted funding 2 women veterans for Mindfulness Training.  These women will give back to the veteran community using their training. As part of the grant the WVI office also moved to the MN Humanities center.
  • WVI adjusted their focus to include advocacy, outreach, and wellness to promote complimentary wellness modalities and began working on a strategic plan
  • WVI hosted a woman veteran retreat in August at St Benedicts in St Joseph, MN.
  • WVI received  a “Resiliency” award from MNDVA,
  • Coordinated the Women Veteran Build with Habitat in November.
  • WVI Tabled at the Mac-V Stand Down, State Fair, and other Veteran associated events.
  • WVI continues to promote the Women Veterans of MN Memorial Day March and Fall Luncheon.
  • MNDVA hired a MN Woman Veteran Coordinator and WVI started to support and collaborate with her at MNDVA Salute to Women Veteran Events.

2016

  • Woman Veteran of the Year Award was sponsored by WVI.
  • The WVI hosted a collaborative Summit Event.
  • Assisted the DAV in identifying women veterans to be recognized at MN WNBA Lynx Home Games as Home Grown Heroes
  • Continued hosting a table at the metro Mac-V Stand Down and the State Fair.
  • WVI supported the MN Humanities Center’s Veteran Voices Program with written nominations
  • Attendance at UVLC and MAG.
  • WVI Tabled at the EMDR event on World Story Telling Day where 2 WVI Volunteers took the stage.
  • WVI assisted the Veteran Voices program in recruiting veteran women to participate in MOTH events.
  • WVI continues to promote the Women Veterans of MN Memorial Day March, Fall Luncheon and promote the Salute to Women Veteran Events.