Monday, August 22nd, 2016ATLANTA, GEORGIA — At a celebratory dinner on July 29, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter awarded the first Caregiver Champion Award to the innovative and exceptional Military and Veteran Caregiver Peer Support Network (MVCN), which provides peer support to those who care for service members and veterans living with injuries. This award was established by the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI), which offers evidence-based support programs to caregivers across the country, including military caregivers through its Operation Family Caregiver program. Operation Family Caregiver provides support to the caregivers of service members and veterans who have been injured.
The 2016 Rosalynn Carter Caregiver Champion Award honors the many leaders in our nation who are actively advocating for the distinct needs of military caregivers. These actions—some taking place behind the scenes and others more visible—are critical to ensuring that military caregivers receive services that will support them throughout their caregiving journey and are proven to work.
RCI selected the MVCN from among many nominees, recognizing its success in reducing isolation and increasing a sense of connectedness, engagement, hopefulness, wellness among caregivers, as well as their knowledge and skills. The MVCN supports caregivers through three caregiver-only, peer-support programs: the Online Peer Support Community, Peer Mentor Support Program, and Peer Support Groups (Online & Community-Based). The network grew out of and is modeled after the nationally recognized, evidence-based programs of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which provides compassionate peer-based support to the loved ones of those who died during or as a result of their service in the Armed Forces.
When the former First Lady presented the award to MVCN staff at the awards dinner, she emphasized the huge impact the network is having on military caregivers—the heroes behind America’s national heroes. “It is so important that we recognize and honor those organizations, like the Caregiver Peer Support Network, that are championing caregivers and improving lives,” said the former First Lady.
The MVCN received a cash award of $2,500. Dr. Lynda Davis, Executive Vice President of TAPS and the Executive Director of the MVCN, accepted the award with gratitude. “TAPS has allowed us to bring their evidence-based, best practices in peer support to the aid of our nation’s caregivers and to provide training to, and share technology with, organizations with similar missions like the exceptional programs Mrs. Carter and the Operation Family Caregiver team have created,” she said.
About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
Located in Americus, Ga., the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is a division of Georgia Southwestern State University. RCI was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the Institute's Board of Advisors. RCI supports family and professional caregivers through advocacy, education, research, and service. In 2012, with support from Johnson & Johnson, RCI established Operation Family Caregiver, which coaches the families of newly returning service members and veterans to manage the difficulties they face when their loved one returns home.
For additional information about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, visit www.rosalynncarter.org. For more information about Operation Family Caregiver, visit www.operationfamilycaregiver.org.