Wounded Soldiers Go Wild for Wii

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Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT is conducting a fundraiser to provide Wii game systems, personal GPS, and voice-activated laptops to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen.

Project Valour-IT, which has provided over 2,700 voice-activated latops for the wounded, is expanding its mission to include Wii and GPS

We are aware of many colleagues throughout the Veterans Affairs medical system who have developed dynamic Wii programs in multiple areas, including PolyTrauma, Spinal Cord Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury, and Long Term Care...Wii gaming has great potential for physical, mental and emotional well-being. We are delighted to receive this support from Soldiers' Angels.

Teenagers and families aren't the only ones going wild for Wii. Whole-body video game systems like Wii can help wounded military personnel recover. As part of refocusing Project Valour-IT, military support non-profit Soldiers' Angels is conducting its annual fundraising competition to help ensure the wounded have access to Wii systems and other technology that supports their recovery.

Valour-IT was launched in 2005 in response to an unmet need, and this new focus maintains that responsive tradition. The project began when it became clear that wounded soldiers did not have easy access to voice-controlled computer technology, which would give them a sense of independence and wholeness during recovery. Today Valour-IT is once again meeting emerging needs by offering Wii game systems and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) devices to support the physical and psychological recovery of America's wounded veterans.

Physical therapists report Wii Sports and similar programs are extremely motivational and helpful when used in physical therapy settings, but they are not standard equipment in military hospitals. In addition, wounded personnel with short-term memory loss due to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and severe PTSD use GPS systems to keep from getting lost or disoriented when they move on to more independent living.

Donna Jo Blake, Chief of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation for the Department of Veterans Affairs in eastern Colorado, commented after receiving a Wii system from Soldiers' Angels, "We are aware of many colleagues throughout the Veterans Affairs medical system who have developed dynamic Wii programs in multiple areas, including PolyTrauma, Spinal Cord Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury, and Long Term Care...Wii gaming has great potential for physical, mental and emotional well-being. We are delighted to receive this support from Soldiers' Angels."

Within only three years of existence, Project Valour-IT has delivered over 2,700 voice-controlled laptops with the assistance of Best Buy stores, which have donated forty laptops and now provide free installation and prep services for every laptop Valour-IT delivers. While continuing to supply voice-activated laptops, and working closely with the Department of Defense caseworkers and medical personnel, Valour-IT is committed to supplying Wii game systems and personal GPS devices to severely wounded veterans.

In order to meet the demands of this expanded mission, Valour-IT is currently conducting its 4th annual Veterans Day online fundraising competition, scheduled to run through Thanksgiving Day (November 27). Previous competitions have raised up to $235,000 in two weeks. Details of the current competition are available on the Soldiers' Angels website and the project blog.

About Soldiers'Angels
Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see http://www.soldiersangels.org or call 626-529-5114. Tax ID# 20-0583415

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