5 Organizations Committed To Helping Veterans
After returning home from service, veterans often struggle to resume life as usual. Many return with physical or psychological wounds, and they all have to adjust to the culture shock of leaving military life behind. Luckily, there are many organizations that give back to those who gave, providing them with financial help, emotional support, and the tools they need to thrive in civilian life. If you want to lend veterans a helping hand, consider supporting the groups listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Groups That Support Veterans
|Grace After Fire||Provide the means for women veterans to gain self-knowledge and self-renewal|
|The Omega Institute||Provide hope and healing for individuals and society through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit|
|Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans||End veteran homelessness in Minnesota|
|Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, Inc.||Raise and train capuchin monkeys to provide daily assistance to people living with spinal cord injury or other mobility impairments|
|The Veteran Tickets Foundation||Provide tickets to events in order to reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life|
Facts & Statistics About Service Members & Veterans
- There are 1.4 million active duty military service members
- 14.4% of the active-duty force is female
- 5.1% of female veterans live in poverty
- 55% of women and 38% of men have experienced sexual harassment when in the military, which can lead to long-term effects such as PTSD
- 4.89 million veterans receive disability compensation from the VA
- 24% of veterans live in rural areas, 76% live in urban areas
- 47.1% of the veteran population is 65 or older
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health issue that some people develop after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening event. While this can happen to anyone after living through a natural disaster, car accident, sexual assault, or similarly traumatic event, the disorder is often associated with veterans, as combat is a dangerous situation that causes many soldiers to develop PTSD. Symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, and re-experiencing upsetting memories, which can make it hard for people to do daily activites like going to work or school and spending time with loved ones. There are a number of treatments available to help people recover from their trauma and regain a normal life, including different types of psychotherapies and medications like anti-depressants.
The Challenge of Being a Soldier
The US military boldly and expertly takes on the considerable task of ensuring the safety of both America and our allies around the world. But upon their return home, numerous service members face serious challenges, such as reestablishing family bonds, entering the civilian workforce, and reintegrating into the community. Veterans who have PTSD or physical wounds are learning to cope with a vastly different situation than before their enlistment. Thankfully, many people are willing to help our troops navigate these difficulties. In no particular order, here are five organizations committed to helping veterans.
Coming in at #1 on our list, Grace After Fire helps women veterans in North, Central, and South Texas help themselves by providing opportunities for them to gain knowledge, insight, and self-renewal. G.A.F. offers a peer support system, financial assistance, and a community resource network to guide women transitioning back into civilian life. Their outreach program, Table Talk: Color Me Camo, includes educational materials and activities that promote self-awareness, understanding, personal development, and rejuvenation. Through structured, positive interaction with trained facilitators and fellow vets, attendees can redefine their roles for a successful future.
For those who are in economic difficulties, and have exhausted all other means of support, Grace After Fire offers access to the Women Veterans Basic Financial Needs Assistance program. Aid for qualified female vets may include money for rent, mortgage, electric bills, or other expenses for a short time. G.A.F. also shares information about treatment and emergency organizations in the area for those in crisis situations, such as alcoholism or drug dependence. If you would like to get involved, you can volunteer to be a facilitator or donate a meeting area for weekly mentoring.
Aid for qualified female vets may include money for rent, mortgage, electric bills, or other expenses for a short time.
Next up, at #2, The Omega Institute is a nonprofit, mission-driven, and donor-supported educational organization. For more than 40 years, they have helped people and groups integrate personal growth and social change through holistic studies. They offer hope and healing to veterans and their families dealing with issues of post-traumatic stress. Each year between May and October, former military personnel can attend retreats that focus on resilience reintegration, and complementary and alternative medicine treatments. Additionally, health-care professionals can attend training opportunities dedicated to the same ideals.
Many studies show that resilience factors, such as emotional hardiness, social support, and mind-body practices, protect veterans from mental health problems and alcohol overuse. Having this elastic mindset can even enhance post-military employment, stable housing, and other aspects of community reintegration when service members return home. Activities such as breath-work and mindfulness help regulate and manage tension, feelings, and the symptoms of PTSD. If you would like to assist Omega by donating financially, please visit their website.
And at #3 on our list, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans has been serving vets who are homeless, or at risk of becoming so, across the state for more than twenty-five years. M.A.C.V. provides lodging, employment, and legal services to those in need, in collaboration with community partners. Its programs include short-term financial support to prevent or resolve a housing crisis, transitional places to stay, and structured independent living. Permanent situations for chronically homeless and disabled former service members, where they can live as independently as possible with services on-site, are also available.
M.A.C.V. provides lodging, employment, and legal services to those in need, in collaboration with community partners.
M.A.C.V. also offers employment assistance for those looking to re-enter the workforce, and professional legal aid to resolve outstanding issues that impact a person's residence and employment. Vets can also get personalized case management with an ongoing, dedicated advocate to identify barriers, create goals, celebrate successes, and overcome setbacks. Public events are held regularly to benefit former military and enhance community awareness of this critical issue, such as hiring fairs and educational forums for landlords. Give online to help end housing instability among our nation's heroes in Minnesota.
At the #4 spot, Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, Inc. helps adults with spinal cord injuries, and other mobility impairments, live more independent and engaged lives. It provides qualified individuals, free of charge, with a unique service animal: a highly trained monkey to help with their daily needs. These creatures have nimble hands and superior motor skills. They can perform tasks such as turning pages, retrieving dropped objects, and pushing buttons and switches. Since their average lifespan is between thirty to forty years, they can aid a person for decades.
Assisting men and women who were injured while serving our country is a priority for Helping Hands. With gifts from the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, the Independence Fund, and other veterans' support groups, trained monkeys have been given to former military wounded in both the Iraq and Gulf Wars, Vietnam, and even WW2. Aside from daily tasks, these creatures also bring companionship, joy, and a renewed sense of purpose to impaired vets. Because the animals are provided at no cost to recipients, the organization is happy to accept financial donations, if you would like to help.
With gifts from the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, the Independence Fund, and other veterans' support groups, trained monkeys have been given to former military wounded in both the Iraq and Gulf Wars, Vietnam, and even WW2.
And at #5, The Veteran Tickets Foundation gives donated admission to various events to show our military that their nation is grateful for their sacrifice. These special occasions provide essential community reintegration opportunities, family bonding experiences, and improve quality of life. Often, service members go through difficult transitions as they reintegrate back into their families, cities, and being a private citizen again. Many vets struggle with wounds of war, both physical and invisible. The organization offers a tangible gift of gratitude for those who have given so much.
Vet Tix partners with major sports teams, leagues, promoters, venues, and season pass holders to provide free and discounted tickets for US military and veterans. Currently enlisted service members, those honorably discharged from all branches, and family of those killed in action are eligible. There is a diverse range of options, so it is easy and appealing for recipients to use the program, regardless of age or physical ability. Please contact the organization if you would like to donate admission to an event or performance.