“Bringing Them Back One Song at a Time”: A Qualitative Program Evaluation of Operation Song

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Lauber, Danielle Elizabeth
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Middle Tennessee State University
The diversity of today’s military service members and veterans offers a unique opportunity for community-based organizations to be evaluated as complementary and alternative programs. These activity-based services may enhance or support federal programs or may function as a different option when those programs are not effective. Operation Song is a non-profit organization based in Nashville, TN that facilitates songwriting programs for military service members, veterans, and their families. The goal of the organization is “to establish Operation Song™ as a unique and viable enhancement of traditional veteran therapies and opportunities for self-expression. We use creative and integrative methods to help individuals process from their service related issues, injuries and illnesses, to improve the quality of their lives and facilitate successful transitions to civilian life.” This dissertation offers a mixed-methods approach to a qualitative program outcomes evaluation of the veteran specific programs provided by Operation Song. Through an inductive-deductive approach, seven themes of outcomes were discovered from 63 different participant perspectives. The connection between these outcomes and organizational goals was found to be positively related. Overall findings seek to add to the evidence-based literature emphasizing the benefits of activity-based community programs like Operation Song that serve military service member and veteran populations, as well as their families.
Alternative therapy, Military, Outcomes evaluation, Qualitative program evaluation, Songwriting, Veterans, Behavioral sciences, Military studies, Alternative medicine