20 Years of Connecting Students with Veterans
20 Year logo

PHOENIX, AZ (August 1, 2023.) – As a new school year begins, local non-profit Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) celebrates the 20th year of Connecting Students with Veterans.TM

This award-winning after-school program develops students’ leadership, confidence, character, and 21st century skills, while honoring the service of veterans and preserving their legacies. Middle school, high school, and college students interview veterans from World War II to modern-day conflicts. These stories are documented through video and written essays, which are preserved both in the student-led publication Since You AskedTM and the Library of Congress. The book includes war and peacetime service stories from veterans of all eras or service branches, in addition to a selected theme for the year. The theme for the 20th Anniversary is Since You Asked XX: A Salute to Gold Star Families. A Gold Star Family is defined by legislation as a "parent, spouse, sibling or child of members of the Armed Forces who died as a result of their service during a period of war." 

VHP issued a challenge to school partners to help celebrate the anniversary by reaching a milestone of preserving 3,000 veteran legacies. This requires students to interview and write the stories of 317 veterans or Gold Star Families this fall, in preparation for spring publication.

“Gold Star Families who prefer to write their loved one’s story rather than be interviewed, can do so through our online guide at veteransheritage.pathwright.com,” said Michelle DiMuro, executive director. “We know the process is very personal, and an interview setting, however respectful and thoughtful, may not be everyone’s choice.”

Margy Bons, Gold Star Mother to son, Sgt. Michael A. Marzano, wrote his story for the third volume of Since You Asked.  Years later, in a letter to Veterans Heritage Project’s Founder, Barbara Hatch, she shared,

“They say, and it’s true, that the greatest casualty is to be forgotten. I think no greater words have been spoken. With the writing of remembrances of our veterans, we keep alive what never should be forgotten. To know a sacrifice firsthand must be shared in order to heal. I am grateful this program exists and continues to educate and remember those that donned the uniform.”

Students will release Since You Asked XX: A Salute to Gold Star Families at a free Community Reception and Book Signing in the spring of 2024. Corporate and individual donors are supporting these and other celebratory initiatives, which will be announced throughout the year. To stay updated, follow Veterans Heritage Project on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, or sign- up in the footer of www.veteransheritage.org to be added to the quarterly e-newsletter distribution.

About Veterans Heritage Project (VHP)

Founded in 2004 and established as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit in 2009, VHP’s mission is to Connect Students with Veterans™ in order to honor veterans, preserve America’s heritage, and develop future leaders. VHP facilitates an after-school program in 30 local schools. Veterans’ first-person accounts of history are preserved in the Library of Congress and through the student publication, Since You Asked.™ Program elements also include community book receptions, veteran presentations, civic engagement, and college scholarships. The curriculum is designated as a Character Education Program by the Arizona Department of Education and is aligned with Arizona's College and Career Readiness Standards.  VHP's work has been recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Library of Congress, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society, Arizona Department of Veterans' Services, Arizona Council for the Social Studies, and Arizona Humanities. 


Gold Star Flier
Gold Star Family Flier
The attached flier explains our program and offers two ways families can share their loved one's story for preservation in the book and the Library of Congress. The front of the flier explains how to use our online guide to write and submit the story, and the back side shares how to have an experienced and mature high school or college student interview the family and write the story on behalf of the family.
Open and Download Flier