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healing for veterans

Help and Support Veterans

5 Tips on How to Help and Support Veterans

By Community, IT No Comments

Veterans Deserve Our Help and Support

After serving their country and returning back into civilian life, it can require quite a lot of adjustment for veterans to settle into a new environment. A lot can change in the time that a veteran is away and beginning a new career path or lifestyle comes with its ups and downs, especially at the start.

While there is still a long way to go when it comes to offering veterans the type of support and assistance they deserve, programs tailored towards vets are increasing in number. Best of all, there are ways that every one of us can help, volunteering time to be a source of encouragement for those recently returning from deployment.

In this world, it is vital that we all do our part to be in assistance to others, and for the brave souls who represented and fought for America, it makes sense that we should find ways to give back.

In this article, we discuss five simple ways to help and provide support to veterans, making their transition into civilian life that much smoother.

Here Are 5 Ways to Help and Support a Veteran

While some of these suggestions may be a bit larger of undertakings, there are options for both those that would like simple solutions, as well as complex, longer-term options.

1. Assist with Job Training and Employment Preparation

One of the most challenging parts of adjustment back into civilian life is, arguably, changing careers. For many veterans, being in service is all they have done since entering the workforce, which is why switching everything up might feel confusing or unfamiliar.

For this reason, it is often important for veterans to prepare accordingly not only in the selection of next career moves but also in how to present themselves at job interviews and at the office. Because of the strict organization and training the military and navy offer, discipline and determination is familiar territory for most veterans. This is why many of them are at an advantage already re-entering the professional world.

Organizations such as Hire Heroes work with vets, providing them with career training so that they have a strong resume, solid interview skills, and develop the skillsets they will need for their path of choice.

As civilians, we can do our part to better prepare veterans for new careers as well. Volunteer with Hire Heroes or other veteran job assistance programs and help vets prepare for new employment avenues. Assist with job searches, mock interviews, securing the right educational opportunities, and holding workshops.

Have a special skill set that you feel could be of benefit to veterans? Host a free training and pass your knowledge along to those who could really utilize the support. Take part in the 100 Entrepreneurs Project, an organization designed to help veterans and their families start their own businesses and gain the skills they will need to succeed.

2. Help a Veteran Get to a Doctor’s Appointment

Veterans can be of all ages, and for those who are elderly or disabled, getting to a doctor’s appointment can be a difficult challenge, especially in cities and towns where public transport is either non-existent or inaccessible.

Although driving a veteran to-and-fro takes normally no more than two hours of time, it can be of massive help to those who would not have been able to go otherwise. Regular check-ups and medical exams are a necessity for all individuals, and veterans especially should not be denied this basic human right due to lack of transportation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DAV) Transportation Network accepts volunteers to help transport veterans. You simply must be an adult with a valid driver’s license. Help out in this small but incredible way by getting in touch with the Service Coordinator at your local VA Hospital. Use this directory to gain more information.

Donate an Old Cellphone and Help Veterans Stay Connected

Want to help veterans and their families stay connected without having to pay a penny? An organization called Cell Phones for Soldiers assists in offering cost-free phone services to vets. Donated cellphones are rebuilt and refurbished and then sold, with the profits from this exchange being directly donated to not only keep veterans in contact with their loved ones but for the overseas active-duty military to do the same as well.

Phone bills to faraway places can easily extend into the thousands of dollars range, which is why giving both veterans and active-duty military free methods of talking with their families can make such a massive difference.

 

Assist in Building Homes for Veterans

Have a background in home building, carpentry, plumbing, painting, wiring, furniture building, or another equivalent skillset? You can apply your knowledge in charitable ways by assisting in building homes for veterans.

Two organizations, in particular, are developing mortgage-free homes for injured veterans to create greater stability and structure for them.

Homes for Our Troops focuses upon providing adapted housing for veterans that have served post 9/11 and were severely injured. By offering these brave individuals a home, they get to accomplish greater independence and freedom. Considering that they sacrificed their own lives to maintain the freedom of America, giving them a home to live in is just the tip of the iceberg.

Building Homes for Heroes is another organization that builds homes for injured veterans, specifically those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They are always accepting volunteers who would like to offer their skills to help out and make a difference.

Help build a home and help an injured veteran rebuild their life.

 

Express Your Gratitude with a Letter or Care Package

Although not everyone is in a position to volunteer their time to help a veteran, there are ways to express your gratitude and thanks from the comfort of home. Sending a letter or a care package to a veteran is a special approach to making a difference in a vet’s life.

There are a variety of ways to approach expressing your appreciation through letters and care packages. Operation Gratitude organizes care packages, letters, and various gifts to be sent to veterans. Not only can you contribute by writing a letter or sending a package, but you can also volunteer your time to constructing care packages to be sent out to vets. The volunteer experience is in a group setting normally, which means you’ll also be able to connect with other individuals expressing their thanks to veterans.

Although letters and gifts of appreciation are a touching gesture towards the veterans that help Americans remain free, for active-duty military the best gift that can be given is the opportunity for them to write to their loved ones. Operation Write Home makes this possible by providing the active-duty military with blank cards that they can then send to their families and friends.

Conclusion: Small Ways to Make a Huge Difference

Aside from these five ways to make a difference and provide assistance to veterans, there are many other ways to get involved and create the change you wish to see in the world. From volunteering at VA Hospitals to providing resources and food to homeless veterans, the possibilities are endless.

At ICOHS College we fully support veterans and those volunteering their time to help vets. We want to encourage veterans to receive the best possible education they can get from career colleges in San Diego. Because of this, our non-profit vocational school offers financial assistance for veterans including veterans’ education benefits. In addition to supporting veterans, we also want to honor active-duty military, which is why we offer active-duty military education benefits and MyCAA for military spouses.

Offering courses as both an affordable school for IT, as well as a holistic health education center and a dedicated massage school, ICOHS College has many education paths you can take, with passionate instructors that are ready to help every step of the way.

Reach out to us today for more information about our programs and how to to get started.

The Natural Healing Properties of Thalassotherapy for Veterans – by Alicia Leos

By Health No Comments

In 2011, I was spending my days on a hill in Khowst, Afghanistan. Thanks to the training, I was always ready, “To deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat,” (The Soldier’s Creed of the United States Army). Whether I was inside or outside the Concertina wire that covered the tops of our HESCO barriers, I accepted that our two platoons of the 870th Military Police Company were surrounded with people who wanted to kill us. I experienced how the war changed the way I viewed the world, the judgment I gave myself, and how it changed the service members who haven’t touched their boots on bloodied soil. All veterans served, spent owned time with a Drill, (Term for cadre of boot camp instructors), and are taught in any military basic training a rule with no name which brands warrior hearts to be in it for each other till the end, and it goes like this; ‘Nobody, gets left behind.’

Today, a lot of our discharged armed forces members suffer through a deficit of assurance when it used to be there in abundance of benefits while they were in the service. A lack of purpose can crash over as waves of regret and resentment to the ones who wander the halls of the V.A. In a different time, they had a special type of confidence the moment they swore an oath to become an active member of a force that assigned them a duty to protect and defend the people of the United States of America. This duty is a job that was bestowed on them by the right of the ink above a dotted line that follows behind a legacy of those who sacrificed with blood, tears, and nightmares. Instead of finding glory for the fight of freedom, they discovered flags impaled in the backs of the dead before them. Once upon a time, the friends and families out there who once prostrated before the squared away heroes they thought they knew didn’t question a thought such as, ‘Yeah, they would kill, or even die for me.’ It’s not long after the dust settles that those veterans are fighting to unlatch the demons that followed them home from work. These vets suffer a serious disconnection from people who were once familiar in their pre-military lives and have some others questioning if they are safe to be around at all. These circumstances are a few of many reasons why the wounded brave can easily give up all hope that one day they will know what it’s like to feel a connection to their world, that will lead to a meaningful life once again. My brothers and sisters at arms, our veterans, (Status: discharged, active, combat, and non-Combat,) signed their freedoms away. It is long overdue that they have more opportunities to feel the spirit of freedom present once more. That opportunity is within Thalassotherapy.

Thalassotherapy literally translates to, Sea Therapy because ‘Thalasso’ is Greek for the sea. In 1867, Dr. La Bonnardiere gave the ocean healing a name. He also observed that seawater is a therapeutic conduit that can prevent all sorts of ailments because it revitalizes and cleanses the system. Although he “coined” the term, he did not invent it. The esoteric Ancient Egyptians and Greek philosophers (Euripides, Hippocrates, Plato, and Herodotus) recognized the oceans held special properties that improved physical and mental health as early as 484 BC. They recorded the effects of the revitalizing results that came with those who were submerging themselves in seawater. One more example of how our veterans are guaranteed to receive some therapy within the ocean’s waters comes from an article published by Massage Magazine, “Not only do both of these fluids contain all trace elements and minerals, the quantities of minerals are nearly identical. Seawater is so close to our bodies’ internal environment that if white blood cells are removed from the body and placed in a sterile seawater solution, they are able to maintain normal cell function for up to five weeks; this is the only solvent that will accommodate continued cellular activity…” (Angela Eriksen-Stanley, the author). The benefits our wounded warriors can get from this vital source of minerals and trace elements are within every type of Thalassotherapy application. The Thalassotherapy benefits found within being submerged in its waters include Being with nature, improved range of motion, sleep, cognitive attention skills, mood, well-being, motivation, reduced mental, and physiological fatigue, and a heightened quality of life.

This sea therapy is the answer to a lot of the veterans who are suffering from PTSD, pain in their bodies, insomnia, depression, and fatigue. There are many forms of Hydro Therapy or water therapy. Thalassotherapy is the most beneficial to veterans who struggle with stress-related symptoms today. The ways Some of these fighters decide that they do want to take a step toward getting better, but don’t know where to start. For example, The Wave Academy helps guide veterans toward this holistic approach with the support of organizations and Veteran rehabilitation centers like VVSD (Veteran’s Village of San Diego). The Wave Academy utilizes the practice using a form of aquatic massage called, Watsu, and their goal is to enrich the lives of veterans who suffer from their wartime injuries. These are real testimonies written by veterans who took part in The Wave Academy’s program is proof that Thalassotherapy works. “I have been experiencing very real flashbacks recently and am on the verge of crying at any moment. Today was the first time I have felt safe all week and that overwhelms me with gratitude.” (Waves Academy, Post-911 Veteran, MTS and PTS, Session 7)
“ I was anxious upon arrival with racing thoughts. Had bad night terrors/sweats. In the water…it all melted away. Marcia is an angel healer. Thank you.”
(Waves Academy, Vietnam Vet, Session 9)

“After the 1st session: The experience is hard to explain…very comfortable, maternal, relaxing, unencumbering, free. One of the nicest experiences I have had in many years.” (Waves Academy, Post-911 Veteran, survived a suicide bomber, Session 1) Thankfully, there are organizations out there that are poised to help them adjust to life after the military. Another example of sea therapy experienced, but a sad one is of Navy rescue swimmer James Bizzle. He was suffering through his PTS and addiction and became homeless. Once he graduated a rehabilitation program for homeless veterans, he found his bearings. The first thing he did after that was to get a group of fellow vets to go snorkel with him because “It feels natural to go back to the water. It’s like I get to know myself all over again. It starts with the shock of the cold that says, ‘Wake up!’” (James Bizzle, The Snorks, Facebook Messaging Group). If there is something out there that can quell the symptoms of trauma experienced by a combat veteran, and it’s in the ocean. Motivation and a newfound sense of wonder can greet candidates that you would think did not fit the qualification of liking the ocean at all. This testimony comes from an original member of The Snorks group that expanded and made a Meet-Up in San Diego. “Shane Yost was terrified of the water. His ankle bears a tattoo of a line with the words Do not fill above this line. He wasn’t comfortably exceeding that depth, and he lived by those words. But on a day out from the Aspire Center, a veteran residential rehabilitation treatment program based in San Diego, he put aside that fear when a girl meekly asked if someone could join her boogie boarding. ‘One of my weaknesses is when someone asks me to do something,’ says Yost. So he crept into the ocean — and stayed there. Thirty minutes passed, and the post-traumatic stress disorder survivor realized he’d started having fun. Next came an invite from a friend to go snorkeling. One taste of swimming with seals and sea lions and Yost was hooked, devoting every weekend to his newfound hobby.”

Thalassotherapy doesn’t alter the inner workings of the brain that makes a person who they are. Instead, this holistic approach will be an experience that will quiet the mind and give the key back to the wounded soul. Two years after James stopped our regular Sunday 9 am Snorkel Session off La Jolla Cove, he lost sight of other commitments and became homeless again. I saw him at Operation Stand down San Diego this year. I asked if he snorkels anymore, and he said, “Man it’s been a while since I’ve gone out there. I miss it a lot.” The smile was proof to me that ocean therapy works. With just the memories of his time in the ocean water, he still can experience the happiness he felt, and flashback to the sense of relief it brought him.

To conclude, water has a healing power altogether and it comes in many different forms of therapies. Thalassotherapy, Balneotherapy, and the Chinese practice of taking in water. “Thalassotherapy faded away in the Western world when philosophers embraced Aristotelian logic, which was then nurtured by Galileo (1568–1642) and Descartes (1596–1650)… The decline may thus well be due to the adoption by the great minds of the time of stricter scientific viewpoints, and rational reasoning by the Renaissance researchers and thinkers.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5535692/)Thalassotherapy is a method of healing while using properties of the sea life (i.e. seaweed), ocean water, and climate to help give our veterans restoration of health, and energy which is creating within them an environment where they can feel at peace.

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