National Service: Supporting Veterans and Military Families Fact Sheet
Service members make tremendous sacrifices and learn invaluable skills while protecting and serving our nation — they build a stronger America. Many veterans face challenges in translating those skills into meaningful community engagement, and too often, our industry leaders fail to make strong connections to one of America’s greatest assets.
The Corporation for National Service (CNCS) can help with the reintegration of the more than 1 million veterans who will be returning home during the next five years. National and community service transforms those who serve and exposes people to society’s challenges and empowers them to act. Participants gain valuable professional, educational, and life benefi ts, and the experience can have a lasting impact. Our veterans are uniquely qualifi ed to lead in these efforts through our Veteran and Military Family Corps national and community service models.
Engaging Our Military Community in Service
At CNCS, we are utilizing the talent and leadership of veterans to solve problems at home by engaging them in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund, and other programs. More than 2,000 AmeriCorps and VISTA members will provide community-based support services to Veterans and Military Families in 2013.
By supporting local solutions, CNCS investments provide the resources that help organizations expand services, build capacity, raise funds, and develop new partnerships and programs in more than 350 communities. In 2012, approximately 1.5 million Veterans and Military Family members were impacted by the service of our AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers, reaching every state in the nation.
CNCS Programs Provide a Powerful Return on the Investment
CNCS’ unique value is a “triple bottom line” return on investment: National service benefi ts the recipients of the service, the people who serve, and the larger community and nation. CNCS multiplies the impact of its federal investment by leveraging hundreds of millions of non-federal dollars, mobilizing millions of additional volunteers, and operating our programs with a high degree of accountability, transparency, and efficiency.
Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Corps
In 2009, the Washington Commission for National and Community Service partnered with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs to launch the fi rst CNCSfunded Vet Corps program in the nation to engage veterans in AmeriCorps national service positions.
In 2012, AmeriCorps’ 31 Vet Corps members provided 52,000 hours of service to 7,100 veterans and military family members, creating a valuable resource to support veterans at 30 colleges across the state, improving their educational outcomes, and making a positive difference in communities across Washington state.
Serving Military Families and Veterans
Volunteers and national service participants provide critical support to veterans by connecting them to jobs, housing, health care, and other benefi ts. Volunteers support our troops here and abroad by writing letters, sending care packages, and donating calling cards. We are also increasing economic opportunities for military spouses and providing educational support for military children. Now, as part of the expanded mandate of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and our new Strategic Plan, we are increasing our support of programs that serve veterans and military families and engage veterans in service. Through grants, special initiatives, days of service, and other efforts, we are committed to assisting those who have bravely served our nation.
Each CNCS Program Addresses the Unique Challenges Military Families and Veterans Face:
- AmeriCorps programs — Vets helping Vets. More than 17,000 veterans have served in AmeriCorps since its inception, helping other veterans and military families access benefi ts and services; obtain job training and conduct job searches; provide safe and affordable housing; and mentor and tutor children of service members.
- More than 500 Senior Corps projects and 8,000 volunteers serve at hundreds of Veterans Affairs facilities every year, assisting elderly and disabled veterans, helping military retirees acclimate to life after service, and providing transportation to those in need of medical treatment. Through Senior Corps programs, more than 650,000 veterans and military family members have been served.
- AmeriCorps NCCC has supported more than 50,000 veterans through special service projects, special events and disaster relief/recovery. More than 2,000 veterans received the support of relief services in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, many veterans have continued their service through NCCC by participating in disaster relief and recovery efforts across the nation.
Our Strategic Objective: Increase the number of veterans and military families served by and engaged in CNCS-supported programs in order to strengthen and improve the services we provide for the betterment of all Americans.
- Supporting our nation’s troops, veterans, and military families is critical to our national security.
- Meaningful connections to our veterans and military families strengthen our communities.
- Veterans are valuable assets and will improve volunteerism and service to the benefi t of all Americans.
- Volunteer service improves meaningful transitions to life after service for our nation’s veterans and their families.
- It is our duty to recognize the service and sacrifi ce of our military community by volunteering in their honor.
National Service in Action:
- AmeriCorps members working with Florida’s Habitat for Humanity Vet Corps help repair homes of veterans and military families at no cost to them through the Repair Corps program. Nationwide, the Vet Corps has provided more than 300 housing solutions to veterans and military families.
- The Washington County Youth Services Operation Military Kids (OMK) identifi es youth from military families and helps them combat isolation and increase their engagement with their local communities. OMK Vermont helps the community understand the full cycle of deployment and its impact on children and families.
- Operation Welcome Home in California helps veterans with their re-entry to civilian life. By connecting veterans with important information, this program helps them access and take advantage of the services and benefi ts they have earned.