VeteransU forms from Legacy of Valor relationships

VeteransU forms from Legacy of Valor relationships

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Ryan Simonson

I’ve been reflecting lately, as the Legacy of Valor (LoV) campaign is winding down, about all the things that have happened over the past year. I’m amazed at the number of relationships formed and strengthened.

The outpouring of community support for our local veterans and their families overjoys me. Most of all, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful for the continued evolution of thriving veterans programs that reach out for and integrate recently transitioned service members into the civilian workforce. That was the genesis of VeteransU, a new local organization that was formed through relationships created during the Legacy of Valor campaign.

VeteransU exists to motivate, mentor and make a difference in the lives of transitioning veterans. Members accomplish this through peer support and social networking as well as professional development interactions, job-work apprenticeships and career coaching.

The following key players from Legacy of Valor are part of VeteransU:

Jewish Family and Children's Service Suncoast Operation Military Assistance Program

Career Source Suncoast

Goodwill Manasota's American Veterans and their Families Initiative

People from these organizations forged relationships and redefined what it meant to provide holistic support to transitioning veterans. As the Legacy of Valor campaign drew down and the partner agencies saw the end of their collaboration looming, they decided not to lose the momentum generated from their hard work.

Now, two months into this new collaboration, VeteransU has already recruited 300 people to support its cause. The group has held two professional development sessions focused on polishing transitioned veterans for future career progress. We’ve hosted multiple peer-to-peer motivational events to include ball games, batting-cage events, social dinners, and volleyball tournaments. Finally, we’re committing our personal lives and resources toward improving our community through events, such as this Habitat for Humanity Sarasota home build.

VeteransU is officially recognized as a C Corps and has its 501 (c)(3) paperwork pending approval.  The organization is competing for funding under the White House’s Joining Forces initiative and is prepared to fully fill a major gap in service for the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans in Sarasota County and the surrounding counties. I'm grateful for the leadership, foresight, and guidance of The Patterson Foundation as it helped our region focus on veterans through the Legacy of Valor.

To get involved, contact Ryan Simonson at (941) 284-7441, Sara Felger (330) 413-5172, or Steve Garcia (941) 737-1030.

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