SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sometimes, art can be just what someone needs.
We were talking
The other day
And roles they serve
In the military.
Jill Baker of Sioux Falls wrote these lines of poetry.
“I wrote so many, just like little poems that just sort of helped me figure out me, and then I started to notice that when I would share them with other people that they’re like, ‘I feel, I know what that feels like,'” Baker said.
For this Army veteran, writing poetry has helped her combat post-traumatic stress disorder which came from harassment.
“Sexual assault and trauma,” Baker said. “Yeah, sexual harassment in the military. It’s more common than you would think, unfortunately.”
Today, Baker is executive director of Community Action for Veterans, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit.
“When I think about what our purpose is, I really feel that we are focused on well-being and wellness,” Baker said.
Air Force veteran Jade Ronk of Sioux Falls is part of the nonprofit’s board.
“When there’s trauma that is not addressed, it’s kind of like a cancer that spreads, and it affects everything at some point, and the most-often outcome of that is broken relationships,” Ronk said.
Community Action for Veterans has held events featuring veterans organizations. Going forward, Baker hopes to incorporate the healing potential of art.
“This is a new budding idea for us, but I think it’s so important that we give that avenue, find an avenue for veterans, service members, family members, caregivers to deal with their stress and emotions through the arts,” Baker said.
“Sometimes there’s experiences that we have no words to really put to, so using art, whether it be painting or writing or pottery or whatever it is, is a way for the soul to express itself, to be able to take something that we’ve experienced internally and bring it to life in a positive way,” Ronk said.
“Whatever that is that helps through that tactile experience of processing what you’re feeling through your creativity I think is very healing,” Baker said.
Baker experienced PTSD for years. Her past now informs a better future for others.
“A lot of times when I think about what would be a good program or service for us, I think about what would have been good for me,” she said. “What wasn’t there for me when I needed it.”
We all have something in our lives
That elicits pain and sorrow.
The something might give us pause
For a day, a week, a month, a year.
Then we settle,
Successfully incorporating the new into
Baker wrote those lines, too. A journey forward doesn’t have to be dark.
“I feel like the arts is a really good way to at least start that transition into a post-traumatic growth frame of mind,” Baker said.
Community Action for Veterans has a fundraiser this week in Sioux Falls at Verne Eide Marine; you can find information about it here.