Launched last February, Maine-based project 'Veterans Helping Veterans' has paired young and elderly veterans together to bond through shared experiences and stories from their military service.
According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, the program, which benefits veterans in York and Cumberland counties, has received positive feedback and is looking to expand its impact and reach by adding more volunteers.
The program, developed by Americorps VISTA volunteer Susan Gold for the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, connects veterans together to spend time with one another and ultimately form a friendship. The project is a heartwarming and meaningful initiative that is strongly rooted in values of compassion and companionship.
Gold's objective for the program is for these partnerships to successfully fulfill the SMAA's mission of providing outreach and resources that will allow elderly people to live in their homes for as long as possible.
Those who volunteer to be involved in 'Veterans Helping Veterans' receive training on how to tell if the veteran they are visiting has access to proper nutrition, medical care and transportation services if needed. Through the program is independently run, employees regularly communicate with Maine Veterans Services in order to learn of people who may benefit from the visitation experience.
In addition, the program has employed mental health experts and trainers to keep a close eye on the partnerships and be vigilant of any veterans who may be suffering from symptoms of depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Amy Marcotte, a mental health professional on staff with 'Veterans Helping Veterans' told the Portland Press Herald that "Soldiers tend to feel responsible to their country and one another, and programs like this are a really nice outlet to fulfill that. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for meaningful service to their military brothers and sisters."
If you are interested in volunteering for the program, or want to learn more about the wonderful work and service these veterans do for each other, please contact Susan Gold at 396-6521 or firstname.lastname@example.org