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Contributing Author

Active Duty & After-Service Support: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Active Duty and After-Service programs address problems that arise during and after service, and provide both immediate and long-term solutions. Short-term, they address unemployment, homelessness, disability and reintegration. Long-term, they address PTSD as well as strive to create new missions or opportunities for veterans in need of a renewed purpose. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.


Fellowship and Service Platoons Programs
The Mission Continues
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING 44% of Post-9/11 Veterans report difficulties readjusting to life after the military. More than 2.5 million struggle with translating their military skills to opportunities here at home. These veterans are in need of a connection to a new mission and sense of purpose.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Fellowship and Service Platoons Programs
Program Name

United States
Location

2007
Start date

Meredith Knopp
Program Director

@missioncontinue[/su_pullquote]

For the Fellowship program, The Mission Continues partnered with The Center for Social Development at Washington University on a multi-year study that examined the personal, professional, relational and societal impacts of community service on post-9/11 veterans’ transition from the military to life at home. Results showed that purpose-driven civic service activities positively affect personal, family and community life. With this knowledge, the Fellowship harnesses veterans’ strengths and skills and empowers them to serve in their community over the course of six months. Service Platoons bring together teams of veterans with local community organizations and volunteers through monthly service missions. In 2013, the program reported that 91% of Veteran participants reached their employment goals and 100% regained their sense of purpose. Their goal is to engage 100,000 veterans in this solution of service by 2018. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Anonymous program participant” class=”top5″]Before the Fellowship, I was lost and depressed. These issues were not only affecting me, but they were also having an effect on those around me. That has all changed now; I feel rejuvenated and motivated with a renewed sense of confidence. I am moving forward in life and this is something I have not done in years. [/su_quote]
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Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services
Easter Seals
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Millions of returning veterans and families often struggle to pick up where they left off. They want and need “wrap-around” services, like education, employment, healthcare, transportation, housing, etc., to reintegrate into their communities. But service organizations are scattered geographically with siloed efforts.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services
Program Name

United States
Location

2012
Start date

Colonel David Sutherland
Program Director

@TheDixonCenter[/su_pullquote]

Dixon Center Easter Seals harnesses existing community-based support to deliver services that enable veterans and their families to thrive where they live. Using a collective impact model, the Center advises and assists social, private and public sector decision-makers on how to find and focus on essential Veteran needs, helps communities mobilize partners and resources to support veterans’ education, employment and health, and lastly, facilitates effective community solutions. Under Dixon Center’s leadership, over 560 communities have been strengthened and more than 30,000 organizations are now providing assistance to nearly one million veterans and their families. Dixon Center has convinced 5,600 local organizations across the United States to consolidate and coordinate support in their communities, including educational engagement with 275 academics, community health and wellness programs to 75,200 members and employment to 700,000 veterans and family members. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Adm Michael Mullen, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” class=”top5″]Dave Sutherland of Dixon Center has defined the American model of excellence for the successful reintegration of our veterans and military families. From his tireless work in the Pentagon to the emergence of Dixon Center, Sutherland inspires and encourages us to break down the silos and never forget to put veterans and their needs first. [/su_quote]
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Support Services for Veteran Families
Soldier On
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Veterans represent 15-30% of all homeless individuals depending on region yet comprise only 8% of the population. Factors such as sufficient access to safe affordable housing, high poverty and unemployment rates, access to health care & other risk factors are compounded by combat exposure, wartime trauma, & PTSD, can lead to social isolation & other mental health conditions. These factors lead to an over-representation of veterans among the homeless.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)
Program Name

United States
Location

2011
Start date

Matt Buckley
Program Director

@WeSoldierOn[/su_pullquote]

SSVF is based on the national Homeless Prevention and Rapid-Rehousing Initiative that was funded in 2009-12 through the American Recovery Act funds. Studies show that early identification, prevention and rapid re-housing through the use of short term financial assistance arrests the plunge into homelessness and creates a network of community linkages for high risk families, including veterans, as well as reducing the human and financial cost associated with homelessness. The average Soldier On SSVF cost of preventing homelessness or rapidly re-housing a homeless veteran, including both program/staff costs and temporary financial assistance to pay back rent is less than $5,000/veteran family over a 6-month period. In 2013, 2,866 veteran families were enrolled in the program and 2,057 exited into permanent housing. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Matt Buckley, Program Director” class=”top5″]We believe that within an environment of integrity, dignity and hope, veterans can regain their physical and mental health and achieve housing and economic stability so they may become fully franchised, contributing community members. [/su_quote]


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Free Mental Health Care
Give an Hour
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING As many as 30% of returning troops will experience a significant mental health problem as a result of their service. Over 19% have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. Only about half of those in need have sought treatment. Rates of suicide and homelessness among veterans have soared. For every military member deployed, 8-10 family members are directly affected by his/her service.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Free Mental Health Care
Program Name

United States
Location

2005
Start date

Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen
Program Director

@GiveAnHour[/su_pullquote]

Give an Hour harnesses the expertise and generosity of volunteer licensed mental health professionals who pledge to “give an hour” of their time each week to support the military community. Their services expand beyond groups typically eligible to receive mental health benefits, including parents, siblings, and unmarried partners, who are often affected by a loved one’s wartime service. In the last 8 years, the program has grown their provider network by 11%, increased the number of hours donated by 48%, and maintained their ability to provide free mental health care at a cost to the program of just $17 an hour. Recently, Google selected Give an Hour to help launch its new video platform Helpouts. GAH’s providers can now practice telehealth through this secure HIPAA-compliant platform and individuals anywhere in the world can connect with experts via live video for counseling. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Program Director” class=”top5″]Providing free counseling to returning troops and their families will improve the overall health and well-being of the military and veteran community and decrease the occurrence of tragedies such as suicide, domestic violence and homelessness. Improving collaboration among organizations serving our military will increase the likelihood that those in need receive the care they deserve. [/su_quote]
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Justice For Vets
Justice for Vets
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING For a Veteran, a felony conviction often leads to a life in and out of the criminal justice system. It is a burden that can negatively affect a veteran for years, making it difficult to find work, qualify for VA benefits and reintegrate into society. Today, 703,000 struggling veterans languish in the criminal justice system without treatment.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Justice For Vets
Program Name

United States
Location

2010
Start date

Melissa Fitzgerald
Program Director

@Justice4Vets[/su_pullquote]

Five years ago, Justice for Vets was compelled to take their scientifically validated approach to the Drug Court and apply it veterans suffering with substance abuse and trauma and/or mental illness. The Veterans Treatment Court provides structure, accountability, treatment, and mentors that veterans need to repair their lives. They work to shape public opinion through aggressive media outreach, advocate for state/federal legislation, and host the nation’s only training conference committed to changing the way the justice system responds to veterans. VTC’s require regular court appearances and VTC judges handle numerous veterans’ cases and is supported by a strong, interdisciplinary team, which allows he or she to be in a much better position to exercise discretion and effectively respond than a judge who only occasionally hears a case involving a veteran defendant. The model has demonstrated success at reducing substance abuse and recidivism, as well as improving the mental health, family functioning, employment, housing and wellness of veterans. There are currently 6,550 veterans currently being served in Veterans Treatment Courts. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Anonymous program participant” class=”top5″]I deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq but the biggest challenge was coming home. I was arrested forging prescriptions to get drugs to help me cope with PTSD. In VTC the judge and the rest of the team cared about my welfare and made my recovery their mission priority. With their help I got treatment and benefits, went back to school, and secured housing. VTC saved my life. [/su_quote]


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The Active Duty & Veterans Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.

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Photo credit: The Mission Continues

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