It sometimes takes a tremendous effort for veterans returning from active duty to resume their lives in the civilian world. It's hugely important to support these individuals, both on personal and organizational levels, because the consequences of coming home yet not feeling part of society can be crushing for veterans.

Fortunately, people are rising to the cause all over the nation, creating programs that will smooth the path from the armed forces back into the towns and cities where veterans will reside once they come home. These can take many forms, but their efforts are all serving the same worthy cause.

Miami-Dade County gets United Way program
The Miami Herald recently focused on the launch of United Way Mission United in Miami-Dade county. This is a specialized process designed to help integrate veterans successfully into civilian roles after their time in the armed forces has ended. A similar program in Broward County served as a template for the new effort, and the need for such a process is clear: According to the Herald, there are more than 62,000 veterans now living in Miami-Dade County.

United Way Mission United is not based around one single method of helping veterans. Instead the news provider stated that it consists of smaller programs each designed to address one element of the re-integration experience. On a macro level, the organization pairs veterans with case workers who periodically make sure their assigned individuals are doing well.

Soldiers must find where they fit into the civilian world.Soldiers must find where they fit into the civilian world.

Beyond the use of case workers, there are social functions that keep veterans active and in contact with one another and the public at large. For instance The Miami Herald reported that on Warrior Wednesday, individuals gather at United Way's headquarters for discussions. Another facet of the program is a get-together to celebrate the Army-Navy college football game. The focus is on creating community spaces in which veterans can interact, taking away feelings of isolation that might set in after leaving the military.

The news provider reported that despite the relative newness of Mission United, it has already been helpful. Army Reserve Specialist Franck Kouadje told the source that his struggles following a car accident were eased by the program.

The importance of connection
In a recent Military Times piece on Lockheed Director of Government Relations Joe Rice, he spoke about his own transition from active duty to the Army Reserve and urged veterans to take part in community activities. Isolation is dangerous, and the stark differences between military service and civilian life can take a serious toll if individuals are on their own rather than interacting.

Rice explained that his employer offers its own group for veterans who want to connect with one another and avoid becoming too closed off. Whether through one of these organizations or one that serves a community, such as in the United Way example above, veterans returning home have options when it comes to increasing contact and staying in touch. The journey from soldier to citizen is critical but difficult, and going it alone tends to just make it more taxing. That simple fact highlights the value provided by groups.