The veteran population comprises any individual who served in the armed forces, but they are much more than that. They are wives, brothers, fathers, best friends and an integral part of our society. They are those who put their life on hold to maintain the country as a place of opportunity and freedom. As they risk their lives to protect ours, we should make sure that every veteran has resources that fit their needs upon their return home. And there are plenty of great charities working toward doing just that.
Showing Gratitude by Giving Back
It is apparent that citizens choose to honor veterans by paying their respects to landmarks like the Vietnam War Memorial, which is visited by more than 3 million people every year. Another way to show gratitude is by crowdfunding for veterans’ causes that are dedicated to improving the lives of the men and women who have served our country.
- The United States Census Bureau estimated that in 2014 there were 3,756,131 veterans with a service-connected disability.
- New Orleans is the first city to decrease veteran homelessness from 470 in 2011 to zero in 2015, according to NPR.
- Of the entire adult homeless population, the US Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 11 percent are veterans.
Six Great Veterans’ Causes to Support
Instead of focusing on only veterans, Impact a Hero takes a step back to look at the bigger picture. This nonprofit understands that both wounded veterans from post 9/11 combat and their families need support when facing traumatic injuries. Impact a Hero aims to contribute to a wounded veteran’s healing process by offering financial aid, bringing families undergoing similar situations together for emotional support and providing the community with a pathway to connect with and show appreciation to wounded veterans and their loved ones. The nonprofit puts on multiple fundraising events throughout the year and maintains several programs designed to secure the support these veterans need.
Recognized by the Department of Defense as a leading rehabilitation program, Higher Ground tends to veterans with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress and other trauma by offering 13-week-long sports camps to veterans and their caregivers. But these camps go beyond just physical rehabilitation. They also create an open environment for individuals to share experiences and form connections with others. Even more, the camp grants each participant three years of continued follow-up care as a way to help them easily settle back into their community by connecting them with local resources.
This nonprofit created a program that allows prison inmates and veterans to help one another with dogs. Inmates are provided an opportunity to contribute to society by training puppies to become service dogs. Simultaneously, the inmates receive the emotional support that a pet can bring. After about 24 months of training led by professionals, Puppies Behind Bars brings those dogs to wounded veterans to provide both aid and love to veterans in need.
This nonprofit provides a specific service to veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have experienced life-altering injuries while deployed. As a way to show gratitude for their service, Home for Our Troops builds houses for veterans that are both specially adapted to their needs and mortgage-free. The nonprofit hopes to allow wounded veterans the ability to focus on their recovery by relieving financial stress. Home for Our Troops has built more than 190 homes nationwide since it began in 2004.
The Fisher House Foundation began with the mission to supply free temporary housing for family members of injured veterans while their loved one was being treated at a major military medical center. As the foundation grew it added new programs. It started the Hero Miles initiative, in which donated frequent flier miles afford family members the opportunity to be with their injured loved one during recovery. Similarly, it launched the Hotels for Heroes program, which provides free stays at hotels for family members of veterans via donated hotel points. Finally, it created a scholarship fund for the loved ones of injured veterans. Today it maintains multiple comfort homes located at military and veteran medical centers.
Hire Heroes USA is an impressive program with big results. Since they hire more than 60 veterans each week, it is no surprise that this nonprofit is nationally recognized as a great resource for both veterans and their spouses to find jobs. Its curated approach provides veterans with personalized learning opportunities from highly trained professionals to equip them with the skills and the confidence they need to enter the workforce. They also connect them to more than 200 companies that are eager to hire veterans by hosting job fairs for networking.