Advocacy groups, federal agencies and other entities have long asserted that veterans need a little more support when it comes to entering higher education following their service in the military. At the same time, officials and private sector giants alike will often argue that veterans are exceptional students and strong candidates for employment after graduating. Students and nonprofits in Chicago and Boston have been highly active in trying to support the veterans in their communities. 

"Students built a meditation garden for veterans."

At the high school level
ABC 7, a Chicago-based affiliate, recently reported that high school students in the West Englewood area of the city have completed a project to convert a parking lot into a meditation garden that was specifically built with veterans in mind. According to the news provider, the group of students thought that it would be good to establish a place where veterans could go to take a deep breath, reflect, and "find peace."

Suffice it to say that the project was a success right from the start. 

"All these guys are from different parts of the city, and I met them here at this garden, so the fellowship with these veterans has been awesome," Ronald Stacy, a veteran, told the source. 

Interestingly, ABC 7 noted that the actual design for the meditation space came from the minds of students at the Lindblom Math and Science Academy, while those involved felt as though it was a cause worth fighting for. 

"A lot of people don't really know what they've suffered through and what they're suffering now, so having this space that's kind of dedicated to them I felt was something necessary," Danica Jayco, an architectural student at the school, explained to ABC 7. 

Establishing an environment in which veterans can meet comfortably and share peaceful moments is just one of the countless initiatives that have been launched within communities across the nation in the past few years. A nonprofit organization in Boston just announced a strategy of its own to assist veterans in higher education. 

One group is working to get veterans involved in college sports. One group is working to get veterans involved in college sports.

Athletic re-acclimation
The Boston Globe reported that Athletes of Valor, a startup based in neighboring Cambridge, has begun work to help veterans get involved in athletics at their chosen universities. Perhaps not all that surprisingly, leaders of the nonprofit believe that this would be a mutually beneficial pursuit for both the veteran community and higher education athletics programs. 

"We feel like we have a pinnacle group of men and women who have proven themselves and are trained leaders," Athletes of Valor founder and Marine Sergeant Alex Stone told The Boston Globe. "They're coming out at 22, 23, 26 years old – and they have four years of eligibility."

According to the source, the main idea of the company is to establish a website that will help connect potential athletic recruits from the military with college coaches. 

This type of program will likely also have a positive impact on service members trying to re-acclimate to civilian life upon exiting the military and entering higher education.