Internacional (Marketwired, 05 de Agosto de 2013) Orange County Community Foundation Examines the Uphill Battles Veterans Face Coming HomeThe Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) has released a special report on Orange County veterans in conjunction with its ConnectOC initiative, a first-of-its-kind resource providing eye-opening facts and insight into the areas of greatest need in Orange County. OCCF collected and analyzed a comprehensive set of existing data on three critical issues veterans face: the safety net to help them transition to civilian life and self-sufficiency (shelter, food and employment); their health and wellness (both physical and emotional) and that of their families; and the proper education and training needed to gain access to employment opportunities.
The War on Terror has deployed more than two million U.S. service members. The cost is high: more veterans returning home to Orange County are coming back to personal battles, experiencing anything but a hero's welcome. Many encounter unemployment, homelessness, poverty and depression. This special report outlines the case for coordinated, countywide efforts to give our veterans the homecoming they deserve in the county they call home.
Home to nearly 133,000 former service men and women, Orange County has the third largest population of veterans in California. OCCF's key findings in these areas include the following:
There are an estimated 1,500 homeless veterans in Orange County
Veterans age 20-24 are three times more likely to be unemployed than civilians
45% of post 9/11 veterans are deployed two, three or four times, increasing risk of injuries
In the US, 22 veterans commit suicide every day — one every 65 minutes
11 Orange County colleges and universities offer Veterans Resource Centers on campus to help hundreds of student veterans get on track and achieve their educational goals.
"What we found in the veterans report was alarming," said Timothy J. Kay, chair of the OCCF Board of Governors. "These are our brothers, sisters, parents, and loved ones coming home unaware of the road blocks they will face once they return from battle. The numbers are staggering and call for the community to get involved in helping these local heroes."
OCCF has supported organizations like REBOOT (a program of the National Veterans Transition Services, Inc.) and Mariposa Women & Family Center to help veterans tackle safety net and wellness issues. Last year OCCF, along with generous donors, invested $200,000 to bring four REBOOT Workshops to Orange County, providing training for 80 veterans. The program provides life-changing results to veterans most in need. Likewise, Mariposa offers a range of affordable, supportive services to veterans and their families to help overcome depression, anxiety, grief, substance abuse, anger management, domestic violence and parenting difficulties that are common after on-duty tours involving active combat and extreme trauma. Both organizations help to keep veterans healthy and employed.
"The fact that post-9/11 veterans between ages 21 and 24 experience a disproportionately high rate of unemployment is disheartening," said Hoss. "However, I am confident that programs like REBOOT Workshop and Mariposa Women & Family Center elevate our veterans' future prospects and help them successfully transition from military life to civilian life. A stable life for these veterans and their families is the goal."
Brent Theobold, Director of Veterans Affairs and Community Relations for Vanguard University, a local university providing on campus veterans services, concurs. "Transitioning out of the military can be overwhelming and challenging especially if one does not have a strong support system," he says. "Veterans often find new meaning and hope in life as they encounter education, which leads them to discovering the incredible opportunity they have to incorporate the lessons they learned in the military towards a career that they get to define."
What Can Be Done?
The service and sacrifices veterans make are priceless, but there are many ways that our community can help these brave men and women achieve a successful transition back home.
To view the full special report and video on veterans visit www.ConnectOC.org/veterans. To learn more about how you can help, please contact the Orange County Community Foundation at www.oc-cf.org.
About the Orange County Community Foundation
The Orange County Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about most. We collaborate with individuals, families and businesses to match their charitable interests with our community's needs. We strengthen local nonprofits through grants and supportive resources. We incubate new ideas and bring leaders together to address our community's most pressing needs. Since its inception, OCCF has granted more than $250 million to meet needs in Orange County, across the nation, and around the world — with over $200 million granted in the last decade alone. For more information, visit www.oc-cf.org or call 949-553-4202. Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OCCommunityFdn and Twitter http://twitter.com/OCCommunityFdn.
Brenda Springer, APR
Cynthia Ragland, APR
Orange County Community Foundation
949.553.4202 ext. 22