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The Way We Get By - Discussion Guide CoverPOV Discussion Guide (PDF)
POV creates discussion guides for all our films. Discussion guides offer background information about the film, a comprehensive list of organizations, websites and books recommended for further research and questions viewers can use to kick-start conversations about the themes and issues explored in The Way We Get By, as well as other POV films. The Way We Get By shatters stereotypes, examines how community involvement improves the lives of the elderly and provides a portrait of the benefits and limitations of life in a small town. As an outreach tool, the film transcends partisan political debates while raising important public policy issues related to health care, war and veterans affairs. Ultimately, it reminds viewers of the tremendous power of simple acts of human kindness.

POV's Delve Deeper Reading and Media List (PDF)
A list of movies, books and other media related to The Way We Get By.


Film-Related Links

The Way We Get By
The filmmakers' website for The Way We Get By contains additional content about the film, updates about the film and its subjects, videos, photos, a filmmaker blog and more.

Returning Home – The Way We Get By's New Media Project
Returning Home is an online interactive resource dedicated to welcoming home U.S. troops, a process that extends from World War I to the current wars. The resources provided on the Returning Home website allow family and friends of troops, in effect, to become troop greeters themselves, helping to bring home loved ones, regardless of the war in which they served.

POV's Take Action page for The Way We Get By
Find out how to support veterans and senior citizens. Visit websites for troop greeter programs, ways to support troops and seniors and learn about other opportunities to volunteer.


Resources for Active Duty Soldiers, Veterans and Military Families

United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The website of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs serves as a one-stop website for all official government programs and policies related to veterans and includes dedicated pages for teachers and children.

Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is an online community space for military families. Visitors to the website can find local chapter locations, read a BSF blog and connect to issues facing military families.

G.I. Rights Hotline
The G.I. Rights Hotline provides free, confidential and accurate information on U.S. military regulations and practices to service members, veterans, potential recruits and their families: 1-877-447-4487.

HireVeterans.com
HireVeterans.com is a job board where employers post jobs and hire U.S. military veterans returning to civilian employment.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
This nonpartisan, nonprofit organization is dedicated to advocating for veterans and connecting them with civilian supporters. The website includes updates on pending legislation and suggested action steps.

Maine Army National Guard
The official website for the Maine Army National Guard supplies information on Amy's unit, as well as on all Maine Army National Guard initiatives. Contact information for the family support group is listed on the site.

National Military Family Association (NMFA)
The National Military Family Association was organized in 1969 as the National Military Wives Association by a group of wives and widows seeking financial security for survivors of uniformed service personnel and retirees. That group's efforts helped bring the Survivor Benefit Plan into being. In the ensuing years, NMFA has been in the vanguard of advocacy for improvements in the quality of military family life.

National Resource Directory (NRD)
The National Resource Directory is an online tool for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them. The NRD provides access to more than 11,000 services and resources at the national, state and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Maintained by the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, the NRD links to federal and state government agencies; veterans service and benefit organizations; nonprofit and community-based organizations; academic institutions and professional associations that provide assistance to wounded warriors and their families.

National Veterans Foundation
The National Veterans Foundation has a national hotline for veterans seeking resource referral, benefits information or emotional support: 1-888-777-4443.

Service Women's Action Network (SWAN)
The Service Women's Action Network supports and develops the leadership of veterans, mentors young women considering military service, works to solve problems facing women in uniform and provides and promotes services that are healing to women after their military service experience. SWAN establishes a worldwide network of military women, veterans and allies to provide lasting support, community and resources.

Transition Assistance Online
Transition Assistance Online is the largest single source of transition assistance information and tools for today's separating military. Service members, both prior and current, can find all the resources needed to transition smoothly from military service to a suitable civilian career.

Veterans and Families Foundation
The Veterans and Families Foundation is a nonprofit community service and support organization, founded and directed by veterans, parents, grandparents, family members, employers, mental health professionals, academics, philanthropists and community leaders.

Vets4Vets
Vets4Vets is a nonpartisan veteran organization dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans heal from any negative aspects of service and war through the use of peer support. In addition, Vets4Vets hosts free workshops in locations around the country.

Vietnam Veterans of America
Composed of advocates for a wide range of issues of concern to Vietnam veterans, this organization provides a variety of policy and advocacy resources.

The Welcome Home Project Community Network
The purpose of the Welcome Home Project Community Network, a social networking website, is to encourage civilian awareness of veterans' issues and to create a visible community in support of returning veterans.

Books

Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families, Suzanna Best and Bob Cole. (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 2005)
This book provides soldiers with methods for coping with the psychological repercussions of serving in a war. The authors detail new treatments for veterans who are struggling, and specifically explain how the family and community may provide proper support while rebuilding relationships.

After the War Zone: A Practical Guide for Returning Troops and Their Families. Matthew J. Friedman and Laurie B. Slone. (New York: De Capo Press, 2008)
Two experts from the VA National Center for PTSD provide an essential resource for service members, their spouses, families, and communities, sharing what troops really experience during deployment and back home.

While They’re At War: The True Story of American Families on the Homefront. Kristin Henderson. (New York: Mariner Books, 2006)
This compilation features over 100 stories of military families, assembled by a military chaplain's wife.

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. Maxine Hong Kingston. (Kihei, HI: Koa Books, 2006)
For more than fifteen years, National Book Award-winning author Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. The contributors to this volume — combat veterans, medics, and others who served in war; gang members, drug users, and victims of domestic violence; draft resisters, deserters, and peace activists — are part of this community of writers working together to heal the trauma of war through art.

War and the Soul: Healing our Nation’s Veteran’s From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Edward Tick. (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2005)
Clinical psychotherapist Edward Tick explores the devastating psychological effects that occur from participating in a war. Drawing on history, mythology and soldiers' stories from World War I to Iraq, Tick provides insight into the veteran’s world while teaching us how we may help them heal.


Information on Aging

American Society on Aging
The American Society on Aging is an association of diverse individuals bound by a common goal: to support the commitment and enhance the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families. ASA offers a diverse array of renowned educational programming, outstanding publications and state-of-the-art information and training resources, and the largest multidisciplinary network of professionals in the field of aging.

Eastern Area Agency on Aging
The Eastern Area Agency on Aging offers information on services for seniors and caregivers in Eastern Maine.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is an umbrella organization encompassing 650 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and the representative body in Washington, D.C. for the interests of 240 Title VI Native American aging programs. The fundamental mission of AAAs and Title VI programs is to provide services that make it possible for older individuals to remain in their homes, thereby preserving their independence and dignity. Through its presence in Washington, n4a advocates on behalf of local aging agencies to ensure that needed resources and support services are available to older Americans and their caregivers.

National Institute on Aging
The website of the government's research arm for issues related to aging includes a 2007 report titled "Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study."

Books

Another Quiet American: Older Americans, Vital Communities. Andrew Achenbaum. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)
Achenbaum provides a historical overview of societal aging and the challenges facing the baby boomer population in developing proper support for the elderly. This book presents a diversity of issues including the needs of older women, ethnic and minority aging, as well as productive and spiritual aging.

The Art of Aging. Sherwin Nuland. (New York: Random House, 2007)
In The Art of Aging, Dr. Nuland explores the impact of aging on the mind, body, relationships and aspirations. Dr. Nuland focuses on the variability of aging, and the intensity of mind and spirit that is enhanced with age.


From PBS/NPR

PBS

NewsHour: New Grads Increasingly Turning to AmeriCorps, Teach for America
With the unemployment level in the United States reaching a 25-year high and the financial sector in turmoil, many recent graduates are turning to service-oriented job programs such as Teach for America and Peace Corps. (March 17, 2009)

Bill Moyers Journal: Volunteering 101
Bill Moyers discusses volunteerism in the United States and the origins of the Day of Service and provides advice and resources for volunteering. (Jan. 16, 2009)

The Online NewsHour: Obama Visits Washington Sites for MLK Day of Service
President Obama's Renew America Together initiative was designed to revitalize neighborhoods and renew a spirit of community service in association with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In 2009, that federal holiday, first observed 23 years earlier, came one day before then president-elect Barack Obama was inaugurated, and the holiday's call for volunteerism was incorporated into many of the events leading up to the inauguration. (Jan. 15, 2009)

The Online NewsHour: Elderly Face Soaring Prices Amid Economic Slump
Senior citizens are among the Americans hit hardest by the country's economic downturn and many are struggling to pay energy and food bills and reeling from cuts to community services due to budget constraints. Tom Bearden reports from Denver. (Aug. 14, 2008)

Bill Moyers Journal: Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
For nearly 15 years Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing and meditation workshops for veterans and their families. The contributors to Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace — combat veterans, medics and others who served in war; gang members, drug users and victims of domestic violence; draft resisters, deserters and peace activists — are part of a community of writers working together to heal the trauma of war through art. (May 25, 2007)

And Thou Shalt Honor National Caregiving Town Hall Meeting
This one-hour PBS special was presented in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Older Americans Act in 1965. In frank interviews with Washington lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Dale Bell pressed for answers on issues that have daily impact on family caregivers and their loved ones, including Medicaid and Medicare reform, universal health care, long-term care insurance, direct pay to family caregivers, tax incentives to prepare the nation for longevity and visions for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. (June 2005)

PBS Teachers: Thematic Teaching: Volunteerism: Related Resources
This website lists volunteerism-related resources for teachers.

NOW: Society and Community: Volunteering for Beginners
Volunteerism is an honored tradition in the United States and around the world, often touted as a celebration of the spirit of community involvement. According to the research group Independent Sector, the U.S. volunteer sector is equivalent to 9 million full-time workers. Several international aid workers who have been profiled on NOW have traveled around the world to help those in need, but volunteerism opportunities abound at home as well.

Idea Lab: Social Networks for Doing Good
This website lists social and project-based networking platforms designed to connect like-minded groups and individuals around the world to affect positive change.

Life: Part 2
Do you ever wonder what the meaning of life is? Life (Part 2) is an innovative series by and about the whopping 26 percent of the American population who are 55 and older. It's about the new "old" age; it's about aging vitally and vibrantly, defying ageist stereotypes and still having a clear-eyed view of the challenges that come with this new territory. It is about redefining the second part of life.

Bill Moyers Journal: Resources for Veterans
Many questions have been raised about the treatment of veterans, and in 2007 hearings were held with regard to mistreatment of returning veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. Sexual trauma among veterans is also an issue. (May 30, 2008)

Reserved To Fight
Reserved To Fight follows four Marines of Fox Company for four years through their postwar minefield of social and psychological reintegration into civilian life. The soldiers' return to their communities proves as formidable a battle as the more literal firefights of previous months. Living among loved ones who don't yet understand them and how they have changed, contending with a media focused on the politics rather than the human experience of war and suffering from a psychological disorder that is difficult to acknowledge, these young veterans grapple to find purpose and healing.

PBS Parents: Coming Home: Military Families Cope With Change
This primetime special, presented by the Sesame Street Workshop and featuring Queen Latifah and John Mayer, tells the stories of service members returning home with injuries — both visible and invisible — and explores the heroic struggles their families face on the path to finding a "new normal."

NPR

All Things Considered: Families Send Basics to Marines in Afghanistan
For Marines serving in Afghanistan, mail call can be a little bit like Christmas in July. A package from home can supply everything from basic needs to small luxuries. (July 21, 2009)

All Things Considered: Military Families Learn to Live With "New Normal"
Commentator Rebekah Sanderlin, who writes the blog Operation Marriage for the Fayetteville Observer, says that for military families, wartime is "the new normal." Sanderlin's husband has completed three tours in Afghanistan. She has seen the impact on her two small children and shares her observations. (March 21, 2009)

Officer Suggests Ways to Support the Troops
For two months, Captain Nate Rawlings took questions while stationed in Iraq, and he received numerous queries about how people might show their support for the troops. In this column, he answers those questions and explains how he and his soldiers approach the topic of politics. (July 31, 2008)

News and Notes: A Vacation Focused on Volunteering
Allison Samuels, a national correspondent for Newsweek, describes her experience teaching math and English to second graders in Ghana for three weeks. (March 4, 2008)

Day to Day: Blue Star Mothers, Offering Support
Penny Fourth, whose son Aaron is serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, describes the efforts of the Blue Star Mothers, a support group for families of active-duty servicemen and servicewomen. The group is now in its seventh decade. (May 30, 2005)





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It's really a personal story not a political one. That goes for the greeters themselves as well. They have different views on the war, but their main goal is to support the troops.”

— Aron Gaudet, Filmmaker

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