It is very challenging to make a quick and successful transition from military to civilian life. There are many obstacles that you encounter along the way, many new things to learn, and a unique set of experiences that you never want to forget. It can really be daunting and confusing at times for any veteran to make the change back to civvie street.
It is particularly daunting and confusing for those veterans who are struggling with the effects of Post Traumatic and Combat Operational Stress as they leave the military. Combat veterans, in particular, have a more difficult time making the transition. I have spoken with many who are making the shift, and one theme comes through in every conversation: “What am I gonna do now?”
Being a transitioning Marine intimately familiar with the realities of PTSD myself I can fully relate. It is tough to make the change from one way of life to another, and it is much more difficult for those with stress injuries as they wrestle the demons within while trying to adapt to a new life without.
There is an organization that I am affiliated with that aims to help combat veterans successfully navigate the challenges transition. Veterans 360, a nonprofit organization headquartered in San Diego, is kicking off what I believe is a great program to help combat vets make a successful transition.
Here is their mission:
Veterans 360 has a clearly defined mission: to provide recently separated combat veterans with a carefully developed and managed program of support that will help them develop the professional and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in civilian life. Our goal is that through engagement, education, employment and healing, our student-veterans will utilize what they have learned, manage the resources that are available to them and become equipped for an exceedingly successful transition into civilian life.
They help vets by bringing them into an cohesive and immersive environment for the crucial first two months after leaving the service. Veterans 360 brings a dozen or so combat vets together, forming a “squad” that will go through an integrated and comprehensive transition program together. They will work live together, work together, and heal together in an environment that centers around engagement with the local community, education focused on basic skills and vocational training, employment facilitation that will help them find meaningful work, and healing to help deal with PTS.
All of this is accomplished through individual and corporate donations, and not one thin dime of the veteran’s post-service VA or other benefits will be touched. This is a critical point, as many unseemly organizations and “educational” facilities have sprung up with the cloaked goal to separate the veterans from their money. Veterans 360 is proudly not one of them.
They are, however, asking for help. Here is their message asking for support as they prepare to kick off their inaugural squad:
Our young combat veterans need your support. Tens of thousands of them are unemployed, underemployed, homeless, in support programs or despondent. Sadly, veteran suicide levels are at their highest point since WWII, with 18 or more veterans taking their own lives each and every day.
On 12/12/2012 we are launching our first national fund raising campaign inviting people to join “The Twelve For Twelve” program ($12.00 a month for 12 months for 12 squad members).
Our primary mission is to make sure that our young warriors understand that asking for support is not a sign of weakness or an inability to cope. It is a sign of strength. Veterans are much more formidable when they are better educated and trained on how to deal with adversity.
With your support we will invite 12 young combat veterans into a 60-day program of engagement, education, employment and healing. Upon graduation we will set them on the path to a productive future with continued health, wellness, education and placement support.
Our government trained them for combat, society must prepare them for life.
Happy holidays and please remember those currently serving in harms way.
You have our gratitude.
Support them if you can. I do.