How to Support Returning Veterans
With so much buzz constantly surrounding United States veterans, from past wars and today's, one may quickly think that someone else can take on the burden of offering support. But when we sit and think about what our veterans have done for us, and how many struggles they face when returning from active duty, there is a job to be done that must involve many American people. Defender Bracelets is here to help individuals and organizations raise money and support for our U.S. veterans. With a fundraising bracelet that represents different branches of service, you can easily help support veterans — those who are returning from duty today and those who have served in the past.
Challenges Returning Veterans Face
After returning from duty, the number one struggle veterans face is finding employment. When listening to the news, veteran unemployment may be what you hear about most. In 2011, of OEF/OIF (Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom) veterans ages 18 and over, just over 12 percent are unemployed. There are many reasons why it’s challenging for veterans to find employment, including skills not transferring, poor resume and interviewing skills, or struggling with mental or physical disabilities.
Loss of Purpose
The shock of returning to civilian life can cause feelings of being disconnected to their community as well as family and friends. The support that they received from their peers in the military may not be available to them any longer, leading to a challenge finding a place in society.
Physical and mental disabilities not only can cause trouble finding employment, but there can also be a waiting time for approval for disability benefits, leading to significant financial stress. Thousands of veterans have filed claims that may take months or years to be approved.
Access to Healthcare
Veteran unemployment and healthcare are two topics of frequent discussion. Having to wait for disability is a struggle, but so is finding access to certain care, such as psychiatry and other specialized medicine.
Dealing With Invisible Injuries
Cases of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression are still continuing to rise. The stress of active duty (constant danger of being fired upon, rockets, and explosives) for OEF/OIF makes veterans prone to these conditions. In addition, it may take time for these conditions to be diagnosed and properly treated.
Housing and Financial Insecurity
There are certain housing benefits that veterans can take advantage of, but unemployment can often make finding housing even more difficult. There are also many factors that can hinder a veteran from being able to afford housing, including waiting for disability, debt, and caring for families.
So How Can You Offer Help For Veterans?
- Simply letting veterans know what benefits and organizations are available can be a great place to start. Using social media, let them know about community organizations and social services that assist veterans.
- Try to connect with veterans during sporting events, social, and community events.
- Reach out to non-profit organizations such as Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity to learn what opportunities they have for offering support to veterans and increase their awareness of the need to support returning veterans.
Education Training and Employment
- If you’re a local business owner or can reach out to businesses, ask them about what job training programs are available for veterans or if there is a program that could be set in place at your own business.
- It also takes businesses and organizations with pre-employment skill training programs, career planning, and occupational training programs that will help their military skills become more translatable.
Access to Healthcare
- Despite the VA being the number one source for medical and behavioral care for veterans, the growing wait to receive benefits leads to a need for local organizations to provide additional resources to veterans to fill in the gaps.
- Encouraging veterans to enroll in the VA healthcare system can show that there is a need for additional support and resources.
- Reach out to providers who may be able to offer care from the private sector. Continue to increase awareness regarding mental disabilities.
- Find counseling service organizations that have volunteer programs.
- Seek out non-profits that help veterans who are homeless transition into permanent housing. Teach veterans about Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers that are offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- With debt and income struggles, foreclosures can sometimes be hard to avoid. Find opportunities to offer assistance for veterans with disabilities who are struggling to make housing payments.
- Work with financial management and budget counseling services to help veterans and families learn to be more efficient with their money.
- Many families must face struggles alone. Work with your local community to support family to family mentoring and counseling.
- Create groups that can draw attention to the needs of veterans and their families, offer specialized training and education, and create therapy groups that veteran families can join and find a new community to be involved in.
Fundraising With Defender Bracelets
Many non-profit and not for profit organizations who provide support and assistance to veterans need help raising money as well. With our 12 or 14 wooden tile fundraising bracelet, we can offer our support and help for veterans and their families. Fundraising products like these bracelets not only earn money, but honor those who have served in past wars and today’s. Together we can help provide assistance to veterans in ways they need it most. To learn more about our mission or our products, give us a call today.