I was approached a few days ago by David Burch, Director of Communcations for Volunteers of America. In his email he invited me to participate in a webinar that will help dictate the tone and agenda for a panel coming up in early May. Click here to see info on the Panel. It's called, "After the Uniform - Serving the Veterans Who Served Us".
Needless to say, I am extremely honored to be part of this - getting in on the ground floor. When I asked Mr. Burch for more details, he said this:
"Volunteers of America is already one of the largest and oldest providers of services to homeless veterans in the U.S. In 2010, we helped more than 7,700 veterans in 33 cities and 19 states with housing, counseling, job training and medical assistance. The organization is also a leading partner with the Veterans’ Administration on its current initiative to end homelessness among veterans.
While our work with veterans has traditionally focused on homelessness, we’ve seen a growing need for more services related to mental health, PTSD and traumatic brain injuries and we’re working to expand our services in these areas. The 'three-year conversation' will be a series of panels we have planned as part of our advocacy and awareness efforts to draw more attention to these invisible wounds of war. Next year, we’re planning to focus specifically on PTSD, TBI, etc., and the third year, we’ll focus on women veterans and their unique, unmet needs. All of this, of course, coincides with the return of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing demand we anticipate as a social assistance provider for these services. In addition to these advocacy efforts, many of our affiliates are also in the process of establishing new programs specifically geared toward TBI and mental health treatment for veterans."
This is an amazing opportunity that I do not plan on passing up. I will lend my voice to the webinar this coming Tuesday, April 17th. I will keep you informed as the process continues and I will tweet from the panel live on May 8th in the National Press Club in D.C.
With all of that being said, I want to provide you, the readers, the opportunity to be heard as well. If there are pressing veterans' issues that you think should take the forefront, now is the time to sound off and be heard. Please comment on this post. Please spread this far and wide. Let veterans know they have a forum that will listen to them. The reason they chose me is because of the voice I have in the community - YOUR voice. Let's be heard together!!
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.