CNCS Formalizes Partnership with Department of Veterans Affairs to Serve VA Hospitals
Washington DC – Senior Corps volunteers will begin an increased presence in VA Hospitals across the nation with the acceptance of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) into the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS).
The partnership was announced on Friday, March 16, at the 66th Annual VA Volunteer Service National Advisory Committee meeting held in Charleston, South Carolina.
Over the course of the next five years, CNCS seeks to increase the number of national service participants and volunteers serving in VA facilities as well as the number of veterans serving with Senior Corps. The agency will also provide training and technical assistance necessary to Senior Corps programs so that they may create and sustain national opportunities through VAVS.
“Currently, more than 400 Senior Corps volunteers are present at eighty-four Department of Veteran Affairs facilities across the nation, serving our nations veterans,” said Dr. Erwin Tan, Director of the Senior Corps. “This new commitment with the Department of Veterans Affairs builds on this effort is in the spirit of the Joining Forces initiative that our First Lady and Dr. Biden have been leading for the past three years. We know this partnership will allow us to do even more.”
One such program, the Harris County Senior Companions, has dedicated thousands of hours at the local VA Hospital, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. The program has been a fixture of the local community for more than twenty years and continues to provide much-needed support for veterans. Representatives from the program were on hand at last week's meeting to accept an American Spirit Award, recognizing commitment to volunteer programs for veterans.
The Corporation for National and Community Service has made a strong commitment to supporting our nation's troops, veterans, and military families. Thousands of veterans are served each year by AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, and many more are provided opportunities to continue their service to the nation through National Service programs. CNCS believes that veterans are valuable assets and that volunteer service improves meaningful transitions to life after service for our nation's heroes.
“Leveraging the talents of veterans and those from military families as members to improve and expand national service is a priority for this Administration as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service,” said Robert Velasco II, Acting CEO of CNCS. “With this leadership role on the National Advisory Committee, CNCS is honored to be able to improve and expand the benefits that Senior Corps volunteers are able to provide support services to those who need it most.”
Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. It places volunteers age 55 and older with local nonprofits, public agencies, faith-based and other community organizations serving at-risk youth, helping seniors live independently and meeting other community needs. Veterans and military families are a priority area for the program. In 2012, the program will dedicate over 35,000 volunteer hours to our nation's veterans.
The National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) was established in 1947. The Committee became a federally chartered advisory committee in 1975. Led by the Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, VAVS assists in recruitment and orientation of volunteers, and keeps the officers and members of participating organizations informed of volunteer needs and accomplishments.