NEW Pilot Program
Outreach through AMVETS: AMVETS is a congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization (VSO) open to current military and veterans from all eras dating back to WWII who have served honorably. Our mission is to serve veterans, their families, and their communities through veteran services and programs. We have the brand, the coverage, and the presence, and are therefore able to reach out as an organization and deliver support and community to Post 911 and Gulf War era veterans. This has always been expected from VSOs, but so rarely delivered.
There’s a major generation gap: This is a common perception of VSOs, and there's no denying the statistics behind it. The average age of VSOs like the VFW, American Legion, and AMVETs is close to 70*. Members from the Gulf War era through Post 9/11 veterans are just not well represented, and yet the very purpose of our existence is to serve ALL veterans.
There has to be change: Ohio AMVETS wants very much to connect with, truly assist, and provide community to these underrepresented veterans.
Research: We’re doing something about it, and research was the first step in this direction. We found out what today’s veterans need most. Chief struggles are reported to be*:
Transitioning from military to civilian life
Overcoming suicidal thoughts and mental health issues
Belief that the government is failing to meet the needs of their generation of veterans
Additionally, The Philanthropy Roundtable’s guide to helping veterans, Serving Those Who Served, lists the following categories as “opportunities for philanthropy”:
Physical and Mental Health
Legal and Financial
Housing and Homelessness
One of the most compelling messages in the guide’s first chapter warns against unintentionally damaging the self-sufficiency of veterans by creating dependency. A key takeaway, certainly, is to guide, enable, and never underestimate the power of a strong and supportive community.
Surveys: We've reached out through our networks and surveyed veterans, National Guard members, Reservists, and Active Duty military, one in six of the respondents being military/veteran students. We are continuing to reach out in order to collect this valuable data.
Applying the Data:Responses have been overwhelmingly in support and interest of a community building, activity based program for veterans. Ohio AMVETS is currently developing a state-wide program called “AMVETS Active”, which seeks to assist veterans with transitioning into their communities and easing the impact their service may have had on their mental health. It will do so by engaging veterans in competitive, fitness, or social activities and facilitating their involvement in bettering the communities in which they live. Specific activities will be chosen based on interest reported in surveys as well as resources and facilities available.
- AMVETS Department of Ohio Membership Dataset, 2015
- Department of Veterans Affairs, Suicide Prevention Program: Suicide Data Report (2012)
- The Center for Public Integrity: “Suicide rate for veterans far exceeds that of civilian population” 2014
- The Philanthropy Roundtable: Serving Those Who Served (2013)
- The Washington Post: "Younger veterans bypass VFW, American Legion for service, fitness groups" 2014
- The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation: After the Wars- Survey of Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans (2014)
-IAVA: 2014 IAVA Member Survey (2014)
-“Perceptions and views from Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans on the challenges and successes of the new greatest generation of veterans”
-Pew Research Center: Veterans Survey dataset (2011)
-“War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era, Chapter 4: Re-Entry to Civilian Life”
-“The Difficult Transition from Military to Civilian Life “
-“The Military-Civilian Gap: Fewer Family Connections”