Veterans have long faced immense challenges when returning home from overseas. Adversities and setbacks are all too common when looking for jobs and a place to live, while other elements of re-acclimation can be even more difficult. Considering the sheer volume of veterans who have come back after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq throughout the past decade or so, communities and government officials are increasingly pushing for broader, more helpful programs to help service members re-integrate.
Some initiatives are a bit more by-the-books, such as those that work to assist veterans in job hunts and advocate for entrepreneurial ventures among the service member community. Others are far outside the box, and train their sites on helping veterans through the more social-related aspects of re-acclimating to civilian life.
A new pursuit in North Carolina
The Winston-Salem Journal recently reported that American Heroes for North Carolina, a brand new organization, is working to change the ways in which civilians look at veterans, with a specific emphasis on relieving the stigmas facing service members. The news provider pointed out that Jim Hoffman, a West Point graduate and lawyer, is the president of the foundation.
"American Heroes for North Carolina enjoys a special mission to assist veterans integrating back into society, by helping them find employment and fulfillment in their work endeavors, find educational opportunities so they can carry over their talents, skills, and leadership abilities into a viable civilian career," is how Hoffman presented American Heroes for North Carolina's mission statement, according to the source.
Many of the projects taking shape at this organization involve the support of veterans who come home and are not necessarily served by special programs due to their state of relative normalcy. The Winston-Salem Journal noted that stereotypes of veterans have largely defied the military community, especially given the incorrect perspectives so many civilians have, and the lack of substantive resources for those returning who do not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The group is still young, but will continue to assist in correcting the public image of veterans in North Carolina as it scales up its various ventures.
Boston school's initiative success
The Boston College Chronicle reported that the College Warrior Athlete Initiative, which was launched by Cornell's School of Nursing and supported by Boston College, has had a solid impact on those who have participated. The scope of the project was relatively simple – help veterans from post-9/11 service to get into good physical shape.
"More than 60 percent of these veterans gain significant amounts of weight," former Army and Air Force Nurse and project manager for the initiative Susan Sheehy told the news provider. "About 43 percent of them are in the obese category, which creates all sorts of health problems and also results in social isolation and depression."
The source stated that the program has helped veterans lose 15 to 25 pounds on average, positively impacting their quality of life in the process. Mental and physical health are critical matters for veterans who are trying to reintegrate.