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Volunteer Center: Veterans needed to support returning military personnel

Published 7:05pm Monday, March 26, 2012

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The mission of the Buddy-to-Buddy Veteran Volunteer Program is to use trained volunteer veterans to help military service members overcome the stigma of asking for help and link those who are facing challenges throughout the deployment cycle with appropriate resources that will optimize their quality of life.

No one can be a better source of support than a veteran who has been there. Veterans are needed to help returning Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn military service members and veterans link to financial, educational, health care and counseling resources throughout the deployment cycle.

Veterans with combat experience and mental health training or experience are preferred, but all are encouraged to apply. Training will be provided in communication skills and available community resources in Michigan. The time commitment required is a minimum of about two to three hours per week and one weekend day per month. Responsibilities include attendance at assigned armories once per month on drill weekends, providing telephone support to military service members, regular engagement in weekly support calls with other volunteers and attendance at military events.  Mileage and expenses are reimbursed.


• Harbor Habitat for Humanity is coordinating a group of diverse individuals to help with planning and organizing events. These occasions could be in the form of home dedications, key passing ceremonies, fundraisers and banquets, etc. People are needed who are organized, have local contacts and love to plan parties.

• As a member of the board of directors for Support Our Troops Festival, you will be expected to help with suggestions that will give positive awareness to the plight of not only today’s military veteran, but to all veterans of past and future wars. The purpose of the festival is to raise funds for donations to area organizations who provide services to veterans such as Least We Forget of Southwest Michigan, Rolling Thunder Chapter 2 and area veterans’ hospitals. This year’s festival will also be donating to Paws for the (Veterans) Cause. Meetings are held every other Tuesday at the American Legion Post 335 in Baroda.

• Cass County Council on Aging provides adult day care in its respite facility.  Assist in the care of clients who have varying stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The facility is open 9 a.m.  to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Duties include assisting with crafts, meals and other activities.  Patience, compassion and empathy are needed volunteer qualities.

Drivers also are needed to take seniors to out-of-county medical appointments.  Mileage reimbursement is available.  Preference is for drivers who have, or are willing to get, a chauffeur’s license.

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass invites volunteers to mentor a 6- to 12-year-olds who need an extra adult in their lives.

•The Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan is looking for a skilled volunteer interested in a short- time assignment to clean up some old Web content. Need to have this done in April and estimate that it will take  two to five hours to complete the task.

• Harbor House needs an activities assistant for seniors who are physically impaired, socially isolated, have Alzheimer’s or other dementia to socialize and enjoy peer support in a stimulating and supportive environment that promotes better mental and physical health.

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