Cassaundra Melgar -C’De Baca: A Champion For Change
Cassaundra Melgar -C’De Baca: A Champion For ChangeCassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca is deeply familiar with military life. First she was raised in a military family, with a career Army father. Next, she proudly served in the United States Air Force. Now she is married to a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. With such a deeply entrenched existence within the military, Cassaundra has firsthand experience of the complexities of each role. In her civilian life Cassaundra is a classic serial entrepreneur, not so much addicted to creating and running businesses but more like simply following the path she is meant to follow, even though it is not always an easy one. Today she is the founder and director of the F7 Group, a non-profit built to help the military community she loves so much rediscover the grit and tenacity they carried while actively serving.
Forging a Path Through ChaosArmy Vet Gets A Donated Home With The Help of Cassaundra In the Army, F7 is a Pathfinder – someone who is dropped into the middle of chaos to forge a path for others. Cassaundra is now performing that duty in the civilian world by forging a path through the obstacles faced by veterans transitioning into civilian life as well as actively deployed military and families, and civilians from all walks of life. More than many, Cassaundra knows that two of the biggest factors challenging our veterans are resiliency and employment. The loss of camaraderie and community when leaving the military is profoundly felt. Visible and invisible wounds create hardship that can overcome a person’s capacity to cope or survive. Too many veterans withdraw from life or flounder in an unyielding job market, and Cassaundra is throwing herself into forging a path for them to find their way back into the civilian world.
The F7 Group deploys an arsenal of resources to forge this path.From music and art therapy, to personal and professional mentorship and leadership programs, to several day retreats, the F7 Group offers a vast array of resources to empower and uplift individuals and communities.
Paths Without BordersThe F7 Group may be physically based in Austin but its reach extends to every military installation in the world. Spouses who relocate on a regular basis, far from home, can find help with education, career paths, networking, and overall health and well-being simply by engaging with Cassaundra’s non-profit. The trickle- down effect of this is enormous. Grossly underpaid, our military’s men and women grapple with financial stress on top of the high stress in their everyday life. Imagine the peace of mind offered to these men and women, whose spouse no longer mourns the career or education he or she left or was never able to find, to accommodate prolonged absences and frequent moves. Imagine how the overall health and well-being of these families improves with such support, and what that means to the very people this country depends upon so strongly.
Cassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca: A Champion of ChangeShe didn’t seek recognition for her work, but she admits it was pretty amazing to be selected as one of the Obama administration’s Champions of Change.
“I’m not going to lie- it was pretty awesome,” Cassaundra says.But she also couldn’t help but think that while she was honored by the recognition, she could not be the only female veteran worthy of this award. “How do we change that?” she asked herself and the White House staff. In the following months Cassaundra sought out other female veterans she believed the White House should recognize, and the following year Champions of Change honored those female veterans.
Bridging the DivideCassaundra swore an oath that encompassed all of this country’s citizens, not just the military. She carries that oath into her civilian life by offering her program to any man or women in need, and by linking the civilian and veteran worlds together, she accomplishes another feat – bridging that divide so many fall through. This brings an enormous sense of peace to Cassaundra, who says,
“One of the best things is that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I have connected people once again.”
Supporting the F7 GroupProviding the extent of support and resources the F7 Group does is no small feat. Cassaundra is always eager to accept help and just as her work is diverse, so too are the opportunities to become involved and offer support. Visit the F7 Group for information on that and on the October 27th event in Dallas, where the family of Chad Littlefield will be special guests.
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