Few people know the challenges veterans face more than their fellow servicemembers, and a program in Florida has found success in letting the troops assist each other. Dubbed Veterans Helping Veterans, the initiative aligns former soldiers with others who have had some run ins with the law, the Sun Sentinel reports.
The program began in Broward County in 2010 and is modeled after a similar initiative from Palm Beach County. It has enjoyed a considerable amount of success as of late. The program's 18 mentors, all of whom have to be 55 or older, are paired with vets with mental health or behavioral problems who have been arrested. Rather than shuffling them around in the legal system, organizers say the mentors help them rehabilitate.
"We see a veteran who came into court looking like he was down on his last bit of luck come back in 12 or 15 months with a smile on his face and ready to go back into society," program coordinator Michael Coleman told the newspaper.
Such a program is especially helpful in the Sunshine State, which has one of the highest populations of veterans in the country. According to Census figures, approximately 1.6 million vets live in Florida, placing it among the top three nationally.