Year Established: 2019
Outreach Type: Veterans and First Respondents
Give a brief history of your nonprofit's story. Please include how and why it was established, and who has been involved.
Keeping America's Promises was founded in 2019, by breast cancer survivor Kasandra Padilla and Gary Weaver. Gary Weaver is a United States Naval Veteran who served multiple tours to help protect America's freedom and promises. Kasandra Padilla is the spouse and caregiver of a wounded warrior, Igrain Padilla. He is an Army veteran who served multiple tours in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Kasandra Padilla and Gary Weaver saw that there were great programs available to help support veterans and first respondents, but noticed that there were no communities dedicated to them that would help cultivate it those support systems. Keeping America's Promises was founded to bridge the gap between these great support systems and the community. In 2013, the VA released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides. This is just one of many causes that Keeping America's Promises will combat against. Many lives would have been saved had victims of suicide had someone within their community to reach out to. Especially if it were their own brothers and sisters at arms. If they just had someone in the community that was readily accessible to talk with, some of these victims may still be alive today. In the armed forces even first responders such as police officers and firefighters, there is a bond that cannot be broken amongst one another. There is a code, and that code is that no one is left behind! In the communities that we will build, no one is left behind! We will take these support systems and integrate them within the community to serve our heroes within it. We want to create a community and culture that serves one another on the highest level possible. Anyone can live in these neighborhoods that we will build. We want nurses, counselors, doctors, teachers and every background in it. We will ask them to volunteer within their communities to serve and to be served. Recently Kasandra Padilla's mother (A United States Army Veteran) was a victim of mental illness and suicide. Due to her struggles with past events and encounters that she faced over the years, they pushed her to take her own life. PTSD, feeling alone, unloved and isolated was a factor in why she took her life. Although she was loved by many, she still felt alone. If she was surrounded by a community of people that served one another, the story may have been different. It is important for us to be aware and to extend a helping hand or point people such as those affected by PTSD or any kind of mental illness in the right direction. This gave Kasandra and Gary another reason to start this foundation and to execute the mission of no one left behind and uphold one of our greatest commandments and that is to love our neighbors, as we love ourselves.
What outreach or services does your nonprofit offer?
Our mission will be to serve our veterans and first respondents by developing desirable masterplanned communities that will help our heroes stay connected with one another through social interaction, assisting them with mental wellness, inspiring physical wellness, helping them transition from military to civilian career opportunities and VA benefits counseling services!
What is your ultimate goal for your nonprofit?
Our ultimate goal is to create a community of people and of services as a support system for military personnel and first respondents that have kept their promise to the American citizens by helping give back to them a sense of appreciation, safety and security; while building communities for them and strengthening relationships within those communities.
-Kasandra Padilla, President of Keeping America's Promises Inc.