Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
There are other opportunities beside employment for both Veterans and injured Service Members. These programs are designed to aid in transition from the military into the civilian workforce. These opportunities can be in the form of internships, On-the-Job Training (OJT) and Vocational Rehabilitation programs. The non-paid opportunities allow Veterans and injured Service Members to gain valuable work experience and build skills for the civilian workforce.
At the forefront of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs is the "Coming Home to Work" initiative: The VR&E primary early intervention and outreach program. As part of the "Coming Home to Work" initiative, the VR&E is a program that assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. A part of this program the Veteran-participants will received individualized rehabilitation programs based on the evaluation of interests, abilities and skills. They also provide employment services that include, resume writing, job-seeking, and work readiness training. Beside employment services, the Vocational rehabilitation and Employment Program by the Department of Veterans Affairs also aids in accommodation, education and independent living services for Veterans who are severely injured and unable to work. The website for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program provides additional information about eligibility and process of this program.
Operation Warfighter is a program sponsored by the Department of Defense that offers temporary military detail assignments for recuperating Service Members to engage in meaningful vocational opportunities. These opportunities are in the form of internships that last a few months with working about 15-20 hours each week. The Operation Warfighter program positively affects the recuperation process and aids in gaining valuable work experience.