Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation
The mission of the Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation Program is to enhance the lives of veterans, military and their families.
Department President Sharon Anderson’s theme this year is “Hearts on Fire for Veterans” and what better way to describe our Auxiliary. The Department of Iowa ALA definitely shows a commitment to volunteering, whether in a VA Medical Center or in the community to help our veterans, military and their families. Give of yourself and volunteer it will not only make a difference in the veteran’s life but in yours as well.
- Volunteer to serve veterans and their families at VA health care facilities through the Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS)
- Invite others to become VAVS volunteers with you.
- Enter all of your VAVS hours. Note: VA Healthcare facilities volunteer hour tracking system is different from the tracking utilized for ALA hour bars.
- Assist veterans in accessing VA benefits including, but not limited to, health care.
- Coordinate with local American Legion posts to identify the local Service Officer.
- Encourage eligible veterans to use the VA health care system and its services, including hospitals, Community Based Outpatient Clinics and Vet Centers.
- Invite the local, county or state Service Officer to be the guest speaker at a Unit meeting.
- Assist in activities that help homeless veterans.
- Participate in the VA Project CHALENG organized by the VA health care system nearest you. Project CHALENG for Veterans enhances the care for homeless veterans provided by your local VA and its surrounding community service agencies.
- Raise funds to help veterans and their families through the Family Support Network (FSN) for veterans at risk of losing their housing or homeless veterans transitioning to permanent housing.
- Volunteer at homeless veterans Stand downs.
- Contact homeless veteran’s emergency shelters and identify the organization’s volunteer and in-kind contributions needs (hygiene kits/buddy baskets) etc.
- Crochet hats, scarves or mittens to be distributed to homeless veterans.
- Compile “blessings bags” to be given to the local police department or other organizations that deal with the homeless veteran population.
- Create a “Tree of Warmth” by collecting scarves, mittens and hats and attaching them to a tree in a location the homeless frequent. Include a sign that says “Please Take if Needed” or “Free if Needed”.
- Support rehabilitation and healing of veterans through arts, crafts and hobbies.
- Identify arts, crafts and hobby projects in your community targeted to veterans, such as writing, visual and performing arts, quilting and gardening.
- Contribute donated supplies to help supplement visual veterans artists’ needs for their projects. Contact your local VA hospital coordinator or Department chairman for a list of items.
- Donate, through departments, funds that help local veterans attend state and national Wheel Chair Games, Veterans Creative Arts Festivals and ParaOlympics.
- Help promote job fairs for veterans and their families.
- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, specifically if a house being built is supported by The American Legion.
- Assist and support caregivers of Veterans.
- Become familiar with the service of the VA caregiver support program
- Become familiar with the Military and Veteran Caregiver Peer Support Network.
Monetary Donations: Monetary donations should always be sent to Department Office and earmark it for facility of your choice. Then send a letter to that facility to tell them of your donation and what you want it used for. Facilities are listed in the Blue Book and Needs lists are on the Department website.
Department and National Awards:
- National Veterans Creative Arts Festival Award for donations made through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation: 3 levels – Bronze, Silver & Gold – for donations received August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017.
- Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Award: awarded to the nominee who has given extraordinary service to our nation’s veterans through the ALA VA&R program and the VAVS program. Nominee must serve in an established VA assignment and be defined as a regularly scheduled volunteer. Should be active in any one of the following areas: outpatient clinics, nursing homes, homeless veteran programs, hosted veteran-related functions outside the VA, or visited veterans confined to their homes.
- 10,000 Hour Volunteer Service Award: given to volunteers who have reached 10,000 hours of service in a VA facility during this year (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017).
- 20,000 Hour Volunteer Service Award: given to volunteers who have reached more than 20,000 hours of service in a VA facility during this year (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017).
- VA&R narratives on how you have served our veterans and our Military in our VA Medical Centers or CBOC’s or any other VA sponsored program. These narratives are due by April 30, 2017.
Please send all narratives to the above listed chairman by April 30, 2017