Sandra Rodriguez is a US Air Force Veteran who served during the Vietnam Era (1974 - 1978). She also served in the US Navy Reserves. Sandy was deployed to Korea in 1976. She is a recent member of the Giant Steps program. She says, “I never painted before joining the Art Therapy group. It has helped so much, I don’t know why I didn’t come sooner. I also find that painting helps me to use a different part of my brain since recovering from a stroke.” Sandra says her art allows her to connect to her spirituality. She often finds animal totems hidden in her artworks. Painting offers her a cathartic release of emotions related to her military experiences and offers a way to cope. Additionally, she is discovering a voice which she never knew she had through the creative process. You can view Ms. Rodriguez’s portfolio in our full screen gallery here, as well as an archive from past contributors.
The Giant Steps Program is an arts-driven outpatient mental health program for Veterans connected with VA Connecticut Healthcare. The mission of Giant Steps is to promote the wellness and recovery of Veterans by providing opportunities for creative expression, and connection with others so they can rediscover personal strengths, manage stress, build resilience, enhance self- empowerment and find meaning and pleasure in their lives.
Laura Spinelli, MA, ATR, LPC
Director, Giant Steps Program
VA Connecticut HCS