On Thursday, June 25th, DVNF hosted a luncheon in honor of the 12 outstanding organizations that were approved for a grant in our spring cycle of funding.
In total, $229,000 was given in this cycle to support very different, but unique programs these organizations offer. All of the organizations have one thing in common, however; they are all in existence to support the men and women who’ve served through the many challenges associated with readjusting into civilian life.
Every veteran is different. And it is understandable that no veteran’s adjustment to civilian life will be the same. Some might come back home from combat, get a job, start a family, and move on, but that isn’t usually the case.
More often than not, the stress associated with combat and military service in general present challenges that can often be hard to endure. PTSD, TBI, and severe physical injuries present hurdles that can impede the path to a normal life. Other times, a series of misfortunes and financial crises can leave a veteran homeless with nowhere to turn.
DVNF, alongside these like-minded organizations, are working together to tackle these obstacles, helping veterans to live a better and more fulfilling life.
Warriors At Ease, for example, takes a very interesting and sensible approach to helping veterans overcome stress or anxiety through yoga and meditation. This type of program may not be for every veteran looking for a way to cope with physical and emotional challenges, but there are many who have truly benefitted from it.
Like Warriors At Ease, the Kentucky Center for Healing in Arts offers a program for veterans that allows them to tap into their creativity, using instrumental music, vocal music, storytelling, dance, drama, and visual art as a means relieve pain and anxiety.
For those looking for a more active way to handle what life throws their way, organizations like the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA) and Fairways for Warriors offer golf for veterans. Programs like this help veterans – even those with severe disabilities – showing them that an injury doesn’t have to limit activity.
Some veterans might prefer an even more adventurous type of pursuit. Honoring Our Veterans and Outward Bound USA are programs that give veterans with both physical and mental injuries the chance to experience personal growth and healing in the great outdoors. Fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and other outdoor activities can give veterans a renewed sense of purpose, and an avenue to overcome stress.
While many veterans are certainly looking for a new outlet to cope with the stresses of life after duty, others just need help getting back on their feet. That’s why DVNF granted funding to program like the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV), and Continuing Development Services Monarch (CDS Monarch).
NECHV has been the go-to place for homeless veterans in Boston for years, and the organization has been extremely successful in this endeavor. A major part of its success is due to their holistic approach to the issue of homelessness. They understand that homelessness among veterans is more complex than just a lack of employment and money.
DVNF’s grant supported NECHV’s Veteran 360 Behavioral Health Program, which tackles the deeper problems for homeless veterans. We feel this is perhaps the most critical part of getting a veteran off of the street and back into society.
Similarly, CDS Monarch offers intensive counseling to veterans with PTSD and TBI, and their families. They offer job training, clinical and rehabilitative therapies, and other support services to ensure that each veteran they see is well equipped to handle the stresses they face in their adjustment.
All of these programs were funded for the outstanding services they give to improve the lives of veterans. But we also chose to fund groups who tackle some of the more demanding issues of veterans too.
An estimated 1 in 5 veterans suffers from PTSD. In addition, there have been approximately 260,000 veterans diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). And then, there’s the 7 percent of the veteran population suffering from both.
While the standard treatments for these illnesses can help, there are other veterans who need even more help outside of just standard treatment. That’s why DVNF wanted to support the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injury.
This group seeks 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.
Studies have shown that patients receiving hyperbaric treatments had a dramatic increase in cognitive abilities, improved recovery in motor skills, and a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms.
Treatment is one part of addressing PTSD or TBI, but coping is sometimes just as difficult. DVNF also supported two organizations that train service dogs, and give them to veterans in need of loyal friend that will help them to feel more at ease in social situations, and calm them down when they start feeling tense.
DVNF’s grant to America’s VetDogs is going to a PTSD service dog pilot program. As part of this pilot program, they 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 they are providing the best quality service dogs possible.
Similarly, the DVNF grant to Saving Grace K9s will help their organization to continue their outstanding mission of taking rescue dogs and training them in tandem with a veteran in need of a canine companion. This will help veterans to manage the major difficulties they face each day, and allow them to become more independent.
DVNF is proud to work with these 12 organizations, and thanks them for the outstanding programs they offer veterans. Together, we are all making a difference so that those who stood in our defense know that they can count on the grateful nation for which they fought.
Tags: combat veteran, Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Grants, Homeless, Joseph VanFonda, Military, PTSD, Service Dogs, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Wounded Warriors