ServeNext.org Blog

Veterans in Domestic Service

Posted by bhae09 on February 23, 2010

The PSA from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the Ad Council features a young military veteran arriving home… to a vacant airport.  Alone and at a loss, he walks down the streets of the empty American city.

Only another former serviceman –  in civilian dress, with a grateful, knowing handshake and a “Welcome home” – wakes him up to the bustle of movement and voices.  For recently returned veterans, this isn’t an empty landscape.  It’s likely one filled with people who seem oblivious to veterans’ presence (as to their struggle, sacrifice, and experiences during service), but who are, too, going about their daily lives with meaning and purpose.

This landscape is full of avenues to continue serving: individually, with local organizations, or as part of the larger community of veterans.

The PSA itself links to CommunityofVeterans.org – the IAVA website where veterans, friends, family, and supporters connect as a community and advocate for veterans’ rights.   The public area and private space offer transitional resources, personal stories, inroads to advocacy, and news.  The work of their members focuses on public policy but has also included other forms of volunteerism: for example, helping Homes for Our Troops build handicap-accessible homes for veterans.  IAVA has been featured on The Real World and The Colbert Report.

The Mission Continues empowers wounded and disabled veterans by sponsoring fellowships to allow them to continue sacrificing for those in need in their home communities.  Fellows work as park rangers, advisers to charitable organizations, fundraisers, peer mentors, and more.  These fellowships, and the initiative’s other volunteer opportunities inspired by fallen service members’ spirit of service, are ways to serve intensely in the domestic sphere.

Beyond the Welcome Home – Service Nation’s Mission Serve and Mobilize.org invite veterans between the ages of 18-34 to a summit in April 2010, where participants will address issues facing young veterans.

Troops to Teachers advises military personnel regarding the transition to a career in public education.  The site offers a host of resources, from eligibility and job opening information to contacts in the field.

And of course, helping hands are perpetually needed and welcomed at community organizations, schools, food banks, and churches.  For local opportunities, ask around!  Or check:

Volunteer Match

Idealist.org

Serve.gov

Do Something

United Way

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