At True Patriot Love, we believe in the power of community and the importance of supporting those who have served our country. We recognize that Veterans often face challenges when transitioning back to civilian life, including a sense of disconnection and loss of purpose. To address these issues and foster well-being among Veterans, we are proud to introduce the Veteran Volunteerism Initiative. Thanks to a $500,000 grant from Veteran Affairs Canada’s Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund, this ground-breaking project aims to develop a National Action Plan on Veteran Volunteerism, leveraging the unique propensity of Veterans to serve their communities.
Restoring Purpose and Connection:
Through the Veteran Volunteerism Initiative, we understand the profound impact that volunteering can have on Veterans’ well-being. By engaging in volunteer work, Veterans can reconnect with their communities, rediscover a sense of purpose, and experience the fulfillment that comes from helping others. Our initiative will draw on the outcomes of five evaluated community programs to develop a comprehensive National Veteran Volunteerism Action Plan and framework.
Addressing a Critical Gap:
In 2009, the USA launched a national study on Veteran Volunteering showing that 92% of American Veterans felt it was their duty to continue to give back to their local communities – through supporting others who were transitioning to civilian life, to supporting in disaster relief, to working with the elderly or at-risk youth and through supporting environmental conservation.
It is surprising to learn that Canada currently lacks a framework for coordinating and evaluating Veteran volunteerism, despite its dual benefit to both Veterans and civil communities.
The work we are undertaking will fill this gap by establishing a knowledge base that informs program and policy decisions. By better understanding the impact of volunteerism on Veterans, we can create meaningful opportunities for their well-being and community integration.
Our initiative holds great promise, with several anticipated outcomes that will positively impact Veterans, their families, and their communities:
- Improved well-being: Through volunteering, Veterans and their families can experience enhanced well-being and a renewed sense of purpose.
- Evidence-based understanding: We seek to generate evidence-based knowledge about the relationship between volunteerism and well-being in Veterans and their families, supporting informed decision-making.
- Knowledge translation: By establishing recurring opportunities for knowledge translation, we aim to share best practices and insights about Veteran volunteerism to inspire others to get involved.
- National Action Plan: Our goal is to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan on Veteran Volunteerism. This plan will create excitement and attract more Veterans to engage in volunteer opportunities within both civil communities and the military sector.
- Strengthened ties: By fostering stronger connections between Veterans and their communities, we anticipate positive outcomes for both parties, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
How You Can Get Involved:
In early August, we will be launching an opportunity for community-based organizations to submit an expression of interest for programs that leverage Veteran volunteerism. Each selected program will work with external evaluators to study program design and outcomes, ensuring effectiveness and impact. Additionally, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research will conduct a literature review to deepen our understanding of how volunteerism contributes to Veterans’ well-being.
At True Patriot Love, we are thrilled to launch the Veteran Volunteerism Initiative, a project that aims to harness the incredible spirit of service among Veterans and contribute to their well-being. By developing a National Action Plan and framework, we hope to inspire and engage Veterans and their communities, creating a more connected and supportive society. Together, let us recognize the immense value that Veterans bring to our communities through volunteerism and work towards a brighter future.
Stay tuned for updates on the Veteran Volunteerism Initiative and join us in our mission to support and empower our Veterans!
Author: Karlson Yip
About the author: Senior Coordinator, Marketing and Community Giving at True Patriot Love