The American Widow Project, founded by Austinite Taryn Davis after her husband, Cpl. Michael Davis, was killed in Iraq in 2007, now offers classes for military widows struggling to move on with their lives.
The program, called WidowU, offers courses in four areas: back to school, pursuing passions, overcoming obstacles, and health and fitness. The courses, for which some scholarships are offered, take place over a long weekend roughly once a month in Austin, although organizers hope to double the frequency of course offerings. Widows pay their own travel costs and class size is capped at six, Davis said.
“We keep them small,” Davis said. “Our events are filling up in about 30 seconds. We want Austin to be the breeding ground for the fire to be ignited in their lives. Austin is kind of perfect for all those things. There’s such an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity here. I wanted to put these widows in that environment.”
Davis said she was spurred to action when she discovered the lack of resources available to military widows after her husband’s death.
“The only way for me to survive was to throw myself into it,” she said. “We see a world where women can lead self-sufficient lives and affect change in their own lives and their own communities.”
Widow U “provides military widows with the tools, empowerment and education for the next steps on their journey,” according to its website. More information is available at www.widowu.org.