Pivot. Adapt. Teamwork. Resilient.
These are words that The Independence Fund is familiar with while working in the Veteran Service Organization world. But these are also words that have defined how our organization has dramatically shifted its operations to ensure we are meeting the immediate needs of our Nation’s most catastrophically wounded Veterans, their Caregivers, and their families during this new normal.
Pivot. Following the emergent needs we were seeing from our homebound Veterans that were especially hard-hit with isolation, we shifted our entire organization’s structure with our newest program, Independence@Home. We are assisting the hardest hit Veteran families with emergent costs like rent, utilities, childcare, transportation services, home WiFi, household cleaning and grocery and medical product delivery. Because of the demand we’ve seen for this program, we are expanding the program to beyond our participant database. We are now assisting additional Veterans with special circumstances with $100 gift cards to alleviate their financial struggles while expanding online resources.
Adapt. Since our adaptive athletes can no longer participate in group sports, we are partnering our adaptive athlete Veterans with retired athletes for 1-on-1 virtual workouts and consultations. We continue to look at new ways to restructure our existing programs.
Teamwork. The Independence Fund has expanded its mission of connectivity during isolation. Our in-person Operation RESILIENCY retreats reunite company-sized units that suffered high combat casualties and are susceptible to high Veteran Suicide rates. Because we cannot meet in–person, we are now hosting ongoing Zoom reunions with alumni. During virtual events with entire companies, we are providing updates on our organization, hearing from higher level leadership and licensed clinical social workers, and connecting our caseworker for individual issues. We are then providing smaller groups from those entire companies the resources to run their own, individualized reunions.
We polled our Caregivers to see what resources they needed right now to provide relief and respite. In additional to virtual “happy hour” chats, we have hosted an intro to photography course and are conducting online tutorials twice a week. Subjects will include makeup tips, how to sew face masks, and an introduction to belly dancing. We will also be providing job training seminars, including resume writing and how to navigate LinkedIn.
With the success of our Caregiver and OpRES webinars, we are expanding these virtual chats to our Family program, offering up assistance with tutoring and hosting family game nights.
Resiliency. What The Independence Fund is most proud of is how we have shown how resilient our organization and its catastrophically wounded Veterans are. We launched RESILIENT@Home, a campaign where people can share their coping tactics on how they are staying resilient at home with the hash tag #RAH while highlighting the difficulties catastrophically wounded Veterans and their Caregivers are experiencing. We’ve loved seeing people coming up with creative ways to stay sane, from turning their homes into a 9-hole putt-putt course to reorganizing their garages.
Together, we can all remain RESILIENT@Home as we navigate, adapt and pivot to these changing times.
Blog submitted as guest post by The Independence Fund. The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.