July 22, 2013
Recently, Time magazine featured a cover article touting the benefits of community service as a means for healing and reconnection for veterans. The article, written by Joe Klein, features an organization called The Mission Continues, which was founded by post-911 Navy Seal veteran Eric Greitens. The Mission Continues offers networking and community for post-911 veterans through ongoing civilian service and fellowship. Participating veterans can volunteer 20 hours per week for 26 weeks and receive living stipends, training and transfer of military skills to service projects. Plus, they’re able to join a service-oriented community.
According to the Time article, several studies support the therapeutic benefits of community service for veterans settling into life after traumatic combat experiences. What’s more, over 92% of veterans express an interest in volunteering and ongoing service. For veterans coping with feelings of depression, isolation and disability, community service provides active engagement and a sense of purpose. Connecting and building community through civic engagement stands to benefit more than just veterans and the organizations that they serve, Klein says. Studies also show that regular volunteerism and community service can lead to greater longevity and life satisfaction for most people.
“If service can reconnect individuals to their communities, imagine the impact on our waning sense of civic engagement, our weirdly hollow democracy in which active citizenship has been displaced by marketing and political sloganeering. Would it be so bad if the rest of us became more attuned to the values and can-do spirit our veterans have brought home from the military?”
CFNJ is gathering funds to support New Jersey’s veterans. Email Hans at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute.
And click here for a video on Community Hope, the largest charity serving homeless and disabled veterans in New Jersey.