Quebec Veterans Foundation - The FQV-QVF Veterans and Family Program
The Fondation québécoise des Vétérans | Québec Veterans Foundation’s (FQV-QVF) Veterans and Family Program provides Veterans, their spouses, and children access to innovative programs and safe spaces where they can be themselves, breathe, and reenergize during challenging times created by a difficult transition to civilian life.
“When someone wears the uniform, their whole family serves with them”
For nearly 25 years, the FQV-QVF has been providing funding for inclusive wellness programs designed to optimize the quality of life of Veteran women and men and to support the treatment and care offered to them across Québec. Their primary area of focus is related to operational stress injuries – physical and mental – as well as homelessness, challenges associated with addiction, and depression. FQV-QVF also funds therapeutic, social, and commemorative programs for recent Veterans and for older Veterans in long-term care at Ste. Anne’s Hospital.
“Military members transition to civilian life in big numbers every year and we want to reach out and help as many of them as possible,” said June Mc Cabe, Executive Director, FQV-QVF. “Of those who have trouble in their transition, 80 percent have received a mental health diagnosis related to their service.
“As the expression goes, ‘When someone wears the uniform, their whole family serves with them.’ If all the members of a Veteran family can have a better life in dignity, resilience, and strength, the whole society benefits from it.”
Military families move frequently, sometimes to new countries, which means new schools and communities, and making new friends. Serving parents can be called away on high-risk operations, many times with little notice, leading to weeks or months of worry until they are back and safe at home.
“Our program partners have extensive experience with the challenges children of Veterans live through,” said Mc Cabe. “We are expanding this family program as we see the immediate benefits and we’re working with our service providers in developing art therapy and adaptive sports and other activities.”
Adaptive sports, animal therapy and The Pepper Pod
The Foundation funds a diverse tranche of programs and services, from the Adaptive Sports Foundation | Fondation des Sports Adaptés which incorporates Veteran volunteers, to the Pepper Pod, whose programs reflect deep understanding of the unique challenges women face when transitioning out of military service.
Animal therapy is another modality the Foundation supports. Equine therapy offered through partners like Équi-Sens has been a part of the FQV-QVF therapeutic network for several years; last year the Foundation launched the FQV Veterans Family Program with equine therapy for Veterans’ children, as well as offering art therapy and equine therapy to spouses, a first for their Family program. Newer partners like Café Félin in Quebec City have been able to offer a summer camp for kids from military families at their Veteran-run cat café.
The impact that keeps on giving
Sports, nature, art, equine therapy, and support groups are all recognized as helpful methods to cope with challenging situations and issues.
“Our goal is to have the most inclusive programs possible for Veterans and their families, acknowledging their different backgrounds, identities, and lives,” said Mc Cabe. “They can continue practicing their new passion afterwards and use the techniques that were provided to them as they learn to integrate and adapt to their new way of life.”
In the long term – and happily sometimes in the short term – these programs can help relieve stress, lower depression, decrease the need for prescription drugs, increase self-acceptance and self-awareness, stimulate speech, increase motor skills, provide a sense of belonging, and enhance communication and relationships with others.
“The activities may be limited in time,” said Mc Cabe, “but their impact is great – It keeps on giving.”
While the FQV-QVF Veterans and Family Program will provide service to some 750 participants, there are also the indirect impacts and benefits for the friends and family in each Veteran’s network.
This ongoing circle of good is supported by the Bell True Patriot Love Fund and the generosity of donors like you – thank you!