Veterans gathered on the eighth floor of Bob Hope Patriotic Hall on Oct. 15th for Where the Heart Is, a Spark the True You campaign event centered around helping homeless women veterans.
Sparks starting point guard and three-time WNBA All-Star Chelsea Gray was the guest of honor. In her opening remarks, Gray spoke about her position on the board at Safe Place for Youth and the shoe drives she hosted in recent years to impact the homeless youth in Venice Beach.
“Empowering others is key,” Gray said. “So that’s my kind of journey. I’m trying to understand my purpose in life, I think it’s an ongoing process to try to figure out what is your purpose, but I think my purpose partially is to help empower others to be better.”
Where the Heart Is brought members of the Los Angeles community together to spark conversation surrounding the daily issues homeless women veterans face and actively provide resources to help the community combat homelessness and its stigma.
The event also included Sparks Head Athletic Trainer Courtney Watson, who spoke about eating healthy on a budget and exercises to do without equipment. Watson motivated the room with simple health tips, such as the proper amount of water to drink daily and concluded her segment with each attendee on their feet, participating in stretches and exercises.
“I’m from the inner city, I’m from South Central Los Angeles,” Watson said. “So I’ve spent time seeing us all grow and get better.”
Other keynote speakers included Dr. Kathy Cash and Tiffany Apodaca. Dr. Cash is a US Army Veteran, a Certified Peer Support Specialist, and holds a Doctorate degree in Divinity. Dr. Cash was born and raised in Los Angeles and served active duty at Ft. Hood, Texas as a Food Service Specialist. Dr. Cash spoke on health and wellness resources, with an emphasis on mental health for women veterans who are experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness.
Apodaca told the compelling story of her experience as a member of the U.S. Navy to being suddenly homeless and living on couches, to then graduating college and working for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The afternoon was wrapped up with a raffle to win gift bags full of Spark the True You branded t-shirts, wristbands, stress balls, and dog tag necklaces.
Spark the True You, presented in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Department of Mental Health, educates, assists, and activates a growing community of support across Southern California for women in active duty, women veterans, and their families who are looking for ways to be successful and achieve their ultimate physical, spiritual, emotional, mental health and well-being goals.
Watch the recap video below!
Sparks Star Chelsea Gray helps LA Homeless
KCAL9 – CBS Los Angeles