As a national non-profit foundation, one of DVNF’s primary goals is to help like-minded organizations to secure adequate financial support for their unique programs that strengthen and assist veterans in need. We strive to equip those non-profits with the service delivery tools needed to help veterans transition from active duty to civilian life.
Today, I am pleased to announce our latest round of grant recipients! There are so many great organizations doing incredible work in service to veterans, but we believe the organizations selected for this round of funding are truly unique.
Below is a list of the organizations selected for grants in this session, as well as a description of their program:
Continuing Development Services Monarch (Webster, New York)
CDS Monarch’s Warrior Salute program helps Service Members and their families with personalized life and job transition support. Warrior Salute helps Service Members regain their lives and dreams by providing clinical and family support services, as well as quality employment opportunities and temporary housing.
New England Center for Homeless Veterans (Boston, Massachusetts)
The New England Center for Homeless Veterans is dedicated to ending homelessness for our Nation’s Veterans. Located at 17 Court Street, this downtown Boston facility contains 59 affordable apartments, a distinct and separate 17 bed female Veterans transitional dormitory, and over 300 transitional and emergency beds.
This grant was given to NECHV to support their Veteran 360 programs. The Veteran 360 Behavioral Health Programs provide a broad array of services designed to assist Veterans moving from homelessness into permanent housing, or housing that best meets their individual needs and goals. The program also provides homelessness prevention through wraparound services once placed into housing. A team of Clinical Case Managers provide Veteran-centered supportive counseling, assistance with obtaining or increasing income and benefits, and referrals to resources.
The goal of the Veteran 360 program is to provide and promote mental health and substance use disorder stabilization services while working towards obtaining independent living. Clinicians provide a variety of therapeutic groups to all Center Veterans. Recently, a Trauma Specialist was added to the team, providing best practice treatment modalities and services to Veterans with histories of combat or other military related trauma or traumatic brain injury, as well as childhood and sexual trauma. Vet to Vet peer support provides adjunct assistance to Veterans in the Center and for those who have moved into the community.
Kentucky Center for Arts in Healing (Louisville, Kentucky)
The Kentucky Center partners with Kentucky’s vibrant arts scene and Louisville’s renowned healthcare providers, selecting professional local artists, providing them with intensive training from national and regional trainers, and designing individualized programs for healthcare facilities and programs around the needs of patients, family and staff.
The Kentucky Center brings instrumental music, vocal music, storytelling, dance, drama, and visual art to patients healing from substance abuse, movement disorders, the wounds of war, children recovering from physical and emotional abuse and abandonment, seniors embracing the end of life, families dealing with homelessness and patients undergoing cancer treatment. Benefits of the program include creative self-expression, relief from pain and anxiety, and empowerment in an environment where patients and families often have little control. Patients, health workers and caregivers have all praised the program for providing positive experiences during difficult times.
America’s VetDogs (Smithtown, New York)
America’s VetDogs® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that serves the needs of disabled veterans from all eras who have honorably served our country. VetDogs provide guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help mitigate the effects of PTSD in an effort to provide the emotional and physical support needed.
DVNF’s grant to America’s VetDogs is going toward its PTSD service dog pilot program. As part of this pilot program, America’s VetDogs has partnered with Western Kentucky University to complete a professional three year study on the effects that PTSD service dogs will have on a veteran’s life. The study will help America’s VetDogs make changes to its curriculum and tasks to ensure that we are providing the best quality service dogs possible. America’s VetDogs also wants to be able to provide government agencies and the public with impartial evidence of the difference these dogs make for veterans, and foster understanding within their local communities of the issues faced by veterans with PTSD and how service dogs can help.
At this time, PTSD service dogs will be placed with applicants within 150 miles of the Foundation (Smithtown, NY) or an organization field representative (field representatives are located near the east coast of the United States).
National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (Hartford, Connecticut)
NAMI’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all those affected by mental health conditions by engaging in support, education and advocacy.
In addition to their support groups and affiliated chapters, NAMI Connecticut offers a toll-free Helpline (800) 215-3021 for people living with mental illness, families and professionals; educational programs geared toward those with mental illness – including children – and their families; a bi-monthly member e-newsletter, and a robust public policy program with legislative advocacy training and support.
NAMI Connecticut is also the state’s Outreach Partner for the National Institute of Mental Health. As an Outreach Partner, NAMI Connecticut has access to science-based educational materials as well as information on clinical trials in the area.
Warriors At Ease (WAE) (Silver Spring, Maryland)
Warriors at Ease brings the healing power of yoga and meditation to military communities around the world, especially those affected by combat-stress, PTSD, and trauma. We do this by training and deploying certified mind-body professionals to settings where they can enhance the health and well-being of service members, veterans, families, and healthcare staff.
In 2006, Robin Carnes, clinical psychologist and yoga scholar Dr. Richard Miller, as well as the research staff at Walter Reed, collaborated on a pioneering yoga research study sponsored by the Department of Defense at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The study, Yoga as a Therapy for Traumatic Experiences, was designed to assess whether Yoga Nidra meditation would be a feasible approach to reduce symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) among military personnel.
Warriors at Ease was later born from the difference that many service members felt from doing yoga.
Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injury (Louisville, Colorado)
The mission of the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries is to improve the quality of life for people suffering from brain injuries in the Rocky Mountain region by providing financial support and logistical assistance to individuals who are seeking rehabilitation through hyperbaric oxygen therapy and to promote education and understanding to the community regarding the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
DVNF’s grant to the Rocky Mountain Association for Brain Injury will go to support the organization’s Healing Our Heroes program. This program supports veterans by assisting with payments for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments as well as financial assistance with lodging for those veterans who will be traveling to Louisville, Colorado for HBOT treatments.
Many of the veterans they support have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Post Concussive Syndrome (PCS). TBI and PTSD have been called the signature wounds of the War on Terror. Studies have been conducted using HBOT as an alternative therapy to medication. These studies have shown that patients receiving these treatments had a dramatic increase in cognitive abilities, improved recovery in motor skills and a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms.
Saving Grace K9’s (Lexington, North Carolina)
Saving Grace K9’s rescue dogs are trained as emotional support and service dogs for veterans who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and/or TBI (traumatic brain injury). There is no cost to the veteran. All dog lovers know how much the unconditional love of their dogs mean to them. This love means so much more to the veterans. That unconditional love has saved many veterans from taking their own lives.
The dogs being trained for this program are rescues and the dogs are not breed-specific.
Each dog is trained in tandem with the veteran handler so they are able to bond during the basic training, extensive public access training, and specific assistive training. Some examples of tasks the dogs are trained are: putting distance between the handler and others when in public, reminding the veteran to take their meds, wake up, and comfort the veteran during nightmares, etc. Each dog is trained specifically for each veteran’s needs.
Honoring Our Veterans (Moran, Wyoming)
The mission of Honoring Our Veterans is to improve the quality of life for combat wounded veterans by offering them activities that strengthen their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.
Their programs improve the mental and physical health of wounded warriors. They offer a variety of outdoor activities with expert instruction in order to introduce wounded veterans to the wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities they can use to promote their healing. Each group is small, and the veterans are kept together at all times. One of the most significant factors to successful healing and reintegration is time spent with others who have had the same experience. Many of their wounded Soldiers and Marines are unable to share their traumatic experiences with their spouses and families out of fear that they will not be able to relate. This isolation is detrimental to healing and reintegration. The sharing that occurs when veterans are among their brothers is a major building block in the recovery process.
Honoring Our Veterans also provides opportunities that encourage independence. On multiple occasions they have had wounded warriors who previously had not traveled or been away from their caregiver. They also work closely with the Military Severely Injured Center/ TSA Operations Liaisons to ensure that each of our veterans receives assistance at the airport, ensuring that their travel experience is as stress free as possible.
Outward Bound USA (Brooklyn, New York)
Outward Bound for Veterans helps thousands of returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.
Servicemen and veterans take part in wilderness expeditions that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging in order to build the self-confidence, pride, trust and communication skills necessary to successfully return to their families, employers and communities following wartime service. These expeditions purposefully scaffold wartime experiences (carrying heavy packs, sore shoulders, rubbery legs, sleeping out, strange noises, sweat, dirt, frustration and anger) with authentic achievements to create positive emotional and mental outcomes.
Wilderness activities are used as metaphors for daily life experiences in the pursuit of individual and group excellence, illuminating how the support and collaboration needed to meet Outward Bound goals can positively impact participants’ interactions with others at home. Many veterans experienced courage, brotherhood and a real sense of power and competence while in combat. Outward Bound gives Veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life.
Salute Military Golf Association (Silver Spring, Maryland)
SMGA’s mission is to provide rehabilitative golf experiences and family inclusive golf opportunities for post 9/11 wounded war veterans in an effort to improve the quality of life for these American heroes. Eligible veterans include those wounded or injured in post 9/11 military operations, including those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The foundation of SMGA program is in the golf clinics they offer, some of which focus specifically on warriors with PTSD. SMGA golf clinics are designed for wounded and injured servicemen and women who are in the midst of their recovery and transition from hospital to home-life or back to active duty.
Jim Estes, PGA, and co-founder of the SMGA, has developed an adaptive golf program that brings the game of golf to even the most severely injured. SMGA’s golf clinics form a true community, with each chapter or affiliate expressing their own unique personality and feel. SMGA clinics promote camaraderie among warriors and encourage family centered activities. On occasion, clinics extend beyond the mechanics of the golf swing to include related topics such as golf-specific exercise training, nutrition, and community service.
The SMGA clinic program is structured to challenge any golfer, whether beginner or single-digit handicap. The social interaction and networking opportunities that exist through the game of golf are unmatched in any other sport, and provide a vehicle for integration back into the civilian community.
Fairways for Warriors (Orlando, Florida)
Fairways for Warriors provides golf equipment, instruction, and outings to wounded warriors and their family members. Golf has proved to be an excellent tool for mental and physical rehabilitation. Fairways for Warriors has given these brave men and women the opportunity to heal from their most significant injuries – the injuries that we can’t see such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and others.
Their goal is to provide golf and golf instruction for wounded personnel, ranging from beginners to those with prior golf experience, who are adapting their skills to their new abilities.
Fairways for Warriors desires to help combat wounded warriors, anyone who has served in combat, to overcome the obstacles associated with their military service-related disabilities. The relearning of the fine motor skills required for golf can be effective in the overall rehabilitation of the disabled
For a list of other past grant recipients, click here.
Tags: combat veteran, Disabled Veterans National Foundation, DVNF, Employment, Homeless, Military, PTSD, Service Dogs, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Wounded Warriors