A Voice for Veterans
Group#5- Bears For A Cause
Our Community Issue
Our issue for the week was how veterans have a hard time adjusting back to civilian life. Some of the root causes of this issue include poverty, unemployment, physical and mental battle wounds, lack of education, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), soldier vs. civilian life differences, isolation after being in a team, and the changing cultures back home since they left for the military. We will help veterans adjust to civilian life by making sure that citizens appreciate veterans and know about organizations that can help them be good members of their communities. We will tell people where veterans can get good support. When it comes to what others can do to help with this issue, people can raise awareness about veterans through social media, start fundraisers in schools and community centers to help veterans get a college education, and make posters that say “Support Veterans because they help keep us safe,".
3 Facts about veterans-
1. Veterans who have experienced emotional or physical trauma while serving are at the greatest risk of having difficulties readjusting to civilian life.
2. Community involvement provides a wider circle of friends and neighbors who support you and appreciate your service. Some people experience a sense of community by joining service organizations, clubs or civic groups.
3. Veterans tend to have a hard time understanding civilian life due to how they were trained. For instance, in our society, civilians do not always stay true to their word, while for soldiers, their word is their bond.
How to Take Action
Q&A with Major Matt Jackson
S-3 (Operations Officer)
1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment
California Army National Guard
Major Matt Jackson is currently deployed in Kuwait on his second tour as a BlackHawk pilot. He is a family friend of our camp counselor for the week and he helped give us a veteran's point of view on our issue!
Question 1: What are you/were you (referring to your previous tour) most nervous about when it came to coming back to civilian life?
A- "After being away for so long, re-integrating back into "normal" life is not easy...interacting with your family and friends and other people in general can be challenging. You have been away from all of the "norms" of everyday life back in the states and doing your job, completing your mission everyday with your fellow Soldiers who, in a sense, become your family for that long period of time. You can't come home and talk to your family and friends like you do to your soldiers. Your family and friends aren't used to (nor should they be) being ordered to do something and you can't treat them like they are your soldiers. After being away, you are not used to people wearing all kinds of different clothes as everyone you interact with is in uniform all the time. Also, the freedom to do what you want when you get home is sometimes hard to get used to as you are usually sequestered to your base and don't have the freedom to go and do what you want."
Question 2: What are things you (or veterans in general) look for in terms of resources when coming back?
A- "Healthcare, support groups, counselors, etc."
Question 3: What resources do you already know about that you find to be really helpful when transitioning back?
A- "The VA (Veterans Affairs), Military One Source, Veteran's Service Centers, The American Legion, VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), community outreach groups, church, etc."
What We Learned
Ian- If we are telling a story to a veteran or a civilian, tell it from the veteran's point of view.
Ryan- I've learned to have an understanding and a knowing of what the veterans have gone through.
Dahbin-This week I have learned that veterans have so many problems coming back to civilization after war that we have been blind to. And what they go through such as PTSD and poverty, this makes many people uncomfortable like family and friends. I hope to better understand what they go through in the future, and help make a difference in their lives.
Andrea- This week I learned that no matter how old you are you can make a big impact in your community.
Lauren- This week at iEngage, I learned how I could make an impact in my community by doing a simple task. At the community issues fair we learned about all the troubles in our community which made me feel so thankful of all the things I have, and at the law school we learned how to be convincing with our issue. This camp was a fun experience for me and I am for sure coming back next year.
Sarah- This week I have learned about hunger and how lots of kids go to bed starving while thinking about food. I have also learned a lot about veterans and how after being in combat for a long time it is hard to readjust to civilian life and they are not very well educated because they go to the military instead of college. I love coming to iEngage and learning about the community. I hope to come back next year.
Norah- I have learned about how many people are hungry and homeless. I learned about all the people and their jobs to help the issues for the community.
"How to Adjust to Civilian Life After Combat Duty With the Guard or Reserve."Military OneSource. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.
Antonio. "11 Things Vets Find Confusing About the Civilian World." High Speed Low Drag. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.
Morin, Rich. "The Difficult Transition from Military to Civilian Life." Pew Research Centers Social Demographic Trends Project RSS. N.p., 08 Dec. 2011. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.