Current thinking indicates that service to the community and individuals in need provides the veteran (and the elderly!) …. benefits. Time magazine, July 2013
Veterans and Volunteering
Are you a veteran or a military family member looking for volunteer opportunities on Long Island? The Long Island Volunteer Center, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, is a local resource that links individuals and groups to volunteer needs of over 230 Long Island-based nonprofit organizations. There are many different opportunities ranging from disaster response and recovery, parks and beach clean ups, building homes for those in need, nursing homes recreational programs, painting schools, mentoring youth, serving at soup kitchens or food pantries, looking after animals at shelters, helping with special events, supporting cultural arts, or even administrative/clerical work.
About the Long Island Volunteer Center
The Long Island Volunteer Center (LIVC) is the resource center for volunteerism and community service initiatives throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Established in 1992, LIVC operates year round, and its services are provided free of charge. The LIVC collaborates with corporations and community organizations to address the needs of Long Islanders. LIVC is an affiliate of the HandsOn Network since 2008, connecting agencies seeking volunteers with individuals and groups looking for ways to serve their communities. In 2011, the LIVC was designated by New York State as the Regional Volunteer Center for Long Island. A member agency of the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD), LIVC has also been actively supporting Superstorm Sandy disaster recovery. For more information, contact the Long Island Volunteer Center at (516) 564-5482 or visit www.longislandvolunteercenter.org. LIVC also has Facebook, blog and Twitter accounts and publishes a seasonal list of volunteer opportunities disseminated to each Long Island library.
Additional information and resources
While there is something for everyone, veterans’ unique skills are extremely desirable to nonprofit organizations particularly leadership capabilities, team building, willingness to do heavy lifting, strong work ethic, and desire to serve. Plus, recent research has shown that offering veteran volunteer opportunities helps veterans too. According to Time magazine, “After serving our country overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans want to keep serving. In fact, 92% of veterans aspire to serve their community after returning home, according to a landmark survey. The reason? It is a very difficult process for veterans to come back home after they leave, and having work helps smooth their transition process back to having a normal life with their friends and families. What veterans are not looking for is praise. They simply feel a need to keep serving our country and help their fellow families and communities. And it is our job to create more volunteer opportunities for veterans so that we can essentially give back to them, by helping them maintain an ordinary life.”
Many programs such as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are working with veterans to help them find opportunities to help their families as well as communities around them. Other organizations such as Point of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network create opportunities dedicated to educating as well as building and strengthening skills of volunteers. They encourage individuals to build better communities to help to improve the environment, economy, education and emergency preparedness. The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon are veteran specific and advertise many ways to engage in service opportunities.
Time magazine feature articles on veterans and volunteering:
Tool kits to create service projects for Veterans & Military Families from Serve.gov
Toolkit: Connecting Veterans to Community Services
Toolkit: How to Help Military Families (AARP)
Points of Light Foundation & HandsOn Network Veterans Volunteering Resources
Resources for Military Families and Veterans from Serve.gov
Here is a list of resources for the military community as well as for those who would like to contribute their time and resources to support military families and veterans.
Military and Government Support
U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Community Relations fosters public awareness and understanding of Department of Defense (DoD) missions, personnel, programs, and requirements.
Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense for active-duty, Guard, and Reserve service members and their families.
National Resource Directory
The NRD is a website for connecting wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families with those who support them.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
This federal agency exists to provide and connect veterans to the benefits and services they’ve earned by serving their country.
National Guard Bureau – Joint Services Support
In addition to ensuring the sustainability of the National Guard community, the JSS network leads seven programs designed to enrich the lives of service men and women and reward their service.
U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations – Military Families: A list of organizations focused supporting military families.
U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations – Military Spouses: A list of organizations dedicated to supporting military spouses.
U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations – Helping Troops Help Others
A list of links to nonprofit organizations that engage veterans in service to other veterans and military families.
Military Family and Veterans Non-Profits
Blue Star Families — http://www.bluestarfam.org/ — Blue Star Families works hand in hand to share the pride of service, promote healthier families, aid in our military readiness, and contribute to our country’s strength.
The Mission Continues — http://missioncontinues.org/ — An organization dedicated to building an American where every returning veteran can serve as a citizen leader and where together the fallen are honored by living their values through service.
The American Legion – http://www.legion.org – The nation’s largest veteran’s service organization, the American Legion is committed to local programming that strengthens its commitment and ties to local communities.
Veterans of Foreign Wars – http://www.vfw.org – The VFW aims to serve our veterans by fostering camaraderie among U.S. veterans of overseas conflicts and advocating on their behalf.
National Military Family Association – http://www.militaryfamily.org – Founded in 1969, the National Military Family Association fights for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect uniformed services families and reflects the Nation’s respect for their Service.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – http://www.iava.org – Founded in 2004, this organization works to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
USO – http://www.uso.org – For the past 70 years, the USO has provided Americans a way to express their gratitude to active-duty servicemen and women, veterans, and the military community. The USO has a presence around the globe, with more than 150 centers in 27 countries.
Additional Nonprofit Organizations serving veterans and military families
Team Rubicon – http://teamrubiconusa.org/ – Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
Operation Military Kids – http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/public/statePOCHome.aspx?state=New%20York – Our mission is to support National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty Service Members’ children living in our own backyards in NYS by increasing community awareness of issues faced before, during and after deployment through education; and by creating a network of services and resources available locally for affected military kids.
4H Support for Operation Military Kids – http://nys4h.cce.cornell.edu/get%20involved/Pages/4-HMilitary.aspx – Since 1995, 4-H National Headquarters has worked in partnership with U.S. Army Child, Youth, and School Services (CYSS), Air Force Family Member Programs (FMP) and, beginning in 2007, Navy Child and Youth Programs (CYP) to extend 4-H to U.S. Military Families worldwide. With support of 4-H professionals, military staff and volunteers provide quality developmental programs for children in safe and nurturing environments so that military men and women can pursue their critical, high risk assignments. 4-H clubs provide “a slice of home” for military youth worldwide through quality educational experiences using research-based curricula for youth ages 5 -19. Military youth can become involved in 4-H and continue their 4-H work wherever they move when their parents are transferred or deployed.
http://ccesuffolk.org/operation-military-kids/ – As we are celebrating our 75th year, 4-Hers in Suffolk County wanted to kick off a year-long community service project. Operation Military Kids (OMK) is that project. OMK started in 2005 and is the U.S. Army’s collaborative effort to support children and youth impacted by deployment. OMK’s goal is to connect military children and youth with local resources in order to achieve a sense of community support and enhance their well-being. In 2009, over 150,000 youth participated in 49 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on Operation Military Kids go to www.operationmilitarykids.org. Throughout the year, 4-Hers and volunteers throughout the county will be sewing backpacks and stuffing them with fun stuff (dolls, stuffed animals, games, etc), communication tools (stamps, stationary, journals, scrapbooks, disposable cameras) and a letters from kids.
Additional Volunteer Portals
Retired Senior Volunteer Program Nassau County http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org553122.jsp