Returning home after military service is challenging. The Cities of Service Operation Reintegration Blueprint outlines a volunteer model where experienced veterans support newly returning veterans.
Veterans returning home face a wide array of tasks to complete and decisions to be made. Yet the many programs and services for veterans can be confusing, sometimes comprised in a fragmented and uncoordinated landscape. Through Operation Reintegration, a community, under the leadership of the mayor’s office, can engage veterans as volunteer mentors to increase returning veterans’ awareness of and access to needed programs and services.
The mayor’s office convenes a consortium of local partners that are knowledgeable about veteran issues for initial discussion, input, and planning, with the goal of establishing close partnerships. Volunteer mentors reach out to new veterans upon their return, explain the program, and offer help. The volunteer keeps a record of each contact and follows up with each veteran on a monthly basis.
Executing The Plan
Local partners can help determine the frequency of training and organize the training program to establish a pipeline of volunteer mentors. Volunteer peer mentors should keep a record of every contact and follow up with each veteran after 30, 60, and 90 days and every two months thereafter, until the returning veteran feels that he or she is well on the path to civilian reintegration.
Collecting data on the impact of Operation Reintegration is critical. Required metrics include number of returning veterans continuing their education, number of returning veterans gaining access to housing (temporary vs. stable), number of returning veterans securing a job, and reduction in number of returning veterans served at crisis centers.