Merry Christmas Eve, y’all!  We know some of you will be out there today doing some last minute Christmas shopping, but wanted to present a non-profit organization we feel deserves your donation if you’re in the giving mood this holiday season.

We first came across The American Widow Project when we saw an article on them in a recent issue of People magazine (not available online yet, but we’ll update the article with a link once it is).  There are many Good Causes that feature our men and women who are serving in harm’s way, but it is often the case that the wives who are back home holding down the fort are overlooked.  The American Widow Project strives to close that gap and bring together these widows so they can celebrate their husband’s death in unique ways, instead of just mourning them.  This sounds perfect for our Girl’s Guide readers, some of whom might have suffered similar losses.

It was founded by Taryn Davis, and her story is easier to read rather than having us recreate it:

Taryn Davis, 23, was living the “normal” life; she had married her soul mate, was about to graduate college,and had her future with him to look forward to. That was until May 21, 2007. Her husband had been killed by multiple roadside bombs just an hour and a half after they last spoke. Feeling lost and alone in the new world she’d been thrown into, she began traveling around the country to hear other women’s stories of love, tragedy… and overall survival. In hearing their accounts, she hoped to learn more about the title that been had given to her… that of a military widow.

What began as her own personal journey, has expanded into a non-profit organization, a documentary film, and a growing website. She has grasped on and embraced her new life with all the enthusiasm and passion she had when Michael was still alive. Inspired solely off the willpower and strength of the women “in her shoes” she has found that true love is eternal, that the lessons and things her husband said and did still run through her veins, and mostly… she is not alone.

Amazing story, right?  We know we’d love to meet her someday and talk to her about her experiences as both Natalie’s dad served in his younger years and I was a “brat” growing up, and still have friends and family who serve.  We can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one overseas, let alone a husband, and we think what Ms. Davis is doing is incredible.

Their mission states: “The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter… Military Widow to Military Widow.”  And boy, do they have stories! Like I said, we came across them in a short article which highlighted a few stories on some of the women, but check out some of the other stories on their website: Unexpected Blessings, Spigot, The Last Christmas, and Soul Mates from Opposite Ends of the World.  However, I must warn you, get your tissues ready because I was definitely tearing up while reading some of these!

One of the coolest things they do, in our opinion, is holding events to celebrate the lives they shared with their husbands.  Many times, the activities they plan are inspired by things their husband either did or always wanted to do with their wives but never got around to.  Which is a really important message: Don’t ever think tomorrow is a guarantee, embrace life and if you want to do something new, interesting, fun, unique, just get out there and do it!

In any case, if you believe in AWP’s mission and what they are doing to support military widows, please consider donating this Christmas season.  You can do so by clicking here or cutting & pasting this link into your browser: http://www.americanwidowproject.org/donate/

Got any other Good Causes you think we should highlight? Let us know in the comments!