WHO WE ARE
Veterans face lots of problems. Suicide rates, homelessness, joblessness, etc. while there are many organizations that try to assist vets with specific needs, there is no concentrated effort to guide veterans to someone who can help with a greater sense of purpose or deal with their spiritual health. There is also a lack of support for veterans for dealing with the culture-shock of going from an active duty military lifestyle where everything is highly regulated and you are always held accountable to somebody to the freedom and need to be accountable to yourself and no one else of adult civilian life.
As Christians, we understand the quiet and often intangible benefits of belonging to a church community. We believe that increasing church membership among the veteran community can benefit both groups.
That is why we formed Civilian101. This is a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans deal with the culture shock of their transition by partnering the veteran with a church community and local veteran support organizations depending on that specific veteran’s needs.
WHAT WE DO
If a church wants to participate they must provide one or more dedicated volunteers. We will give them some basic training and resources to serve the veterans. These will include guided conversations to help identify the needs each veteran has, and also point of contact information for veteran support organizations close to the church.
We will point the veteran to the church, they will sit down with the volunteer and identify different needs the veteran has. The volunteer will guide the vet to the specialty groups that can help with each need and help the vet make a plan for how and when to accomplish things. Later, at a mutually agreed on time, the volunteer will contact the vet and hold them accountable for following through with the plan.
Veteran groups often deal with issues like housing, education, and job hunting. Few of any deal with issues like finding a new sense of purpose in life. Many vets struggle with this, and this is where the church can shine. We will also include in our package to the church at least one volunteer group in the community you can point the veteran towards. We encourage the volunteer to invite the veteran to join any community activities or volunteer service projects the church has going on as well. Military veterans are people who are used to being active and doing things and having tasks to complete. The founder of Civilian101 takes the parable of the talents to mean that we are meant to use our gifts in the world, not be idle and lazy. This is why we want to partner with local churches and local volunteers. Having those conversations about what you want to accomplish with your life are not conversations anyone else is trying to have with these veterans.
The end goal is for the veteran to become an active, productive member of the community, to be able to stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves, and for them to have a positive view of the church that went out of its way to help. We expect many of these veterans will make friends with members of the church and become members themselves. This outreach effort to serve the veteran community can go a long way to increasing church membership and attendance as well as solving many of the root issues that are wreaking havoc in the veteran community. Everyone benefits, and that is why we need your support to launch this effort. Please consider donating.