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After trauma of combat, soldiers find solace in songwriting

An Austin-based singer-songwriter founded Songwritingwith:Soldiers, a free program that pairs professional songwriters with veterans to craft original songs based on their experiences. For many of the 120 military members who have participated, songwriting begins the healing process.

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  • DARDEN SMITH, FOUNDER:

    Songwriting with Soldiers to me is this incredibly beautiful, kind of evolution you might say of what I’ve always wanted to do, which is tell stories and write songs.

  • MONTE WARDEN:

    One of the most wonderful things about music is a great song lets you know you are not alone.

  • MARIO CAVAZOS:

    My purpose here today is to spread a message of hope and inspiration for other soldiers that are suffering from PTSD – help understanding as far as what’s happening, that it’s okay.

  • DARDEN SMITH:

     And what we found was the collaboration process with songs, in particular, is very cathartic. It makes them feel better. It releases something. It allows people to step across a border that they didn’t know was there.

  • CHUCK HAWTHORNE:

    We’re losing 22 veterans a day to suicide. A day. I guarantee you they’ve saved lives with this program.

  • SANDI PRIMOUS:

    I’ve thought about giving up. I’ve thought about hurting myself. I’ve thought about throwing in the towel. It’s just something about music. It changes everything.

  • DARDEN SMITH:

     I feel incredibly lucky to have found this new way of writing songs that’s using the craft of songwriting in service of someone else.

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