It’s graduation season, and while many parents are preparing to send their kids off to college, we are preparing to send our daughter off to the Marines. One day during the fall as we were discussing which schools she should apply to, she announced her desire to join the armed forces. Assuming she was trying to get a rise out of us, we totally dismissed her. As the school year went on she reluctantly applied for colleges but would not commit to completing the application process fully. I tried to stimulate her interest by watching episodes of old college series on Netflix, you know the ones like ‘It’s a Different World’ and so on (no judgment zone here).
Then one day we get a call from her asking us to meet her at XYZ address. I nearly hit the car in front of me when I realized it was a military recruiting office. Due to her age, she needed our permission to sign up. Needless to say, she and I were both embarrassed by my behavior that day. Don’t get me wrong I love this country and the freedom it affords us, but that was not the picture of the life I envisioned for her.
So what did I do? I set out to show her all the reasons why she should not join. In doing my research I came across some statistics that were quite alarming to me. One being the number of homeless vets living in America. According to HUD, there are approximately 50,000 homeless vets living on the streets. Many of them suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress PTSD, many due to alcohol or substance abuse, and some due to lack of employability due to having a job that did not translate into the civilian world. Now I am really disturbed! I could not understand this, what about the GI Bill, free education, housing assistance, counseling assistance? The recruiter touted all of these as benefits derived for serving our country, so why are all of these Hero’s homeless?
That’s questions has many answers, talk to a veteran and you will hear each one share different experiences.
The good news is that the administration has recognized this issue and has continued the initiative to end Veteran homelessness by the end of this year. We have decided that we would join in this effort by bringing awareness to the plight of those 50,000 veterans. Please partner with us here at We Care Now together we can make a difference. What can you do? Glad you asked. Many companies have made commitments to hire veterans, find those companies and support them. Donate supplies, such as grooming and hygiene items, blankets, gently used suits and shoes, prepare a meal, and always say a prayer.
What’s that- you wonder if my daughter signed up to serve her country, she sure did!
HUD, VA, and USICH Announce 33% Drop in Veteran Homeless Since 2010. (2014). Retrieved from http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2014/HUDNo_14-103