The Guide to Coming Home

The Guide to Coming Home Category Archive: Community

Text message insights on reintegration

Posted at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2010 (0 Comments)
Filed under: Accessing benefits, Community, Education, Employment, Family & relationships, Housing, Legal, Mental Health, Other, Personal Finance, Substance Abuse

As part of our online and radio series on reintegration, We're asking veterans, their families and those who work with veterans to send us a text message with the answer to this question:

"What's the key to a soldier's successful return home?"

We'll be posting responses throughout the afternoon here. To share your experience with reintegration, text the word "advice" to 30644. Or click here.

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Resources for reintegration

Posted at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2010 (0 Comments)
Filed under: Accessing benefits, Community, Education, Employment, Family & relationships, Housing, Legal, Mental Health, Other, Personal Finance, Substance Abuse

MPR News will be building and maintaining a list of resources for returning veterans and their families. If you see something missing or want to add information to an existing listing, click here.

Multi-purpose
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
Statewide
"To empower leadership, service members and families by providing relevant training, services, and resources throughout the deployment cycle."
Click here for a list of contacts
**BTYR also has a comprehensive resource list here: http://www.btyr.org/Resources**

Link Vet Line
Statewide
"The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline to provide comprehensive assistance and crisis intervention for veterans."
Contact: 888.LINK.VET (546.5838)

Advocacy
United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
"A consortium of Veterans, Military, and Auxiliary Organizations to exchange information and support issues relating to entitlements for Veterans, Military Retirees, the National Guard and Military Reservists, their dependents and survivors."
Contact: Ralph Donais, 763-441-2630

Benefit Navigation and Referrals
Disabled American Veterans Dept. of Minnesota
Statewide
"Providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service"
Click here for chapter locations and contact information

Minnesota County Veterans Service Officers
Statewide
"Assist veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services accrued through military service."
Click here for contacts listed by county

Brain Injuries
Brain Injury Association of Minnesota
Statewide
"The Brain Injury Association of Minnesota's goal is to provide answers and avenues of support for all Minnesotans living with brain injury."
Contact: 800-669-6442 or 612-378-2742

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
Minneapolis, MN
"We provide inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services to veterans and active duty service members who have sustained polytrauma injuries, including traumatic brain injury."
Contact: Stacy Tepper, Admissions and Referral Officer, 612-467-3235 or 866-414-5058 ext. 3235

DCoE Outreach Center
National
"The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) runs a resource center that provides information and resources about psychological health, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury."
Contact: 866-966-1020

Counseling
Walk-In Counseling Center
Minneapolis, MN
"Provides free, confidential, no appointment professional counseling."
Contact: 612-870-0565

Military OneSource
National
"Education, relocation, parenting, stress - you name it - Military OneSource is here to help you with just about any need. Available by phone or online, our free service is provided by the Department of Defense for active-duty, Guard and Reserve service members and their families."
Contact: 1-800-342-9647

Calvary Lutheran Church
Golden Valley, MN
"Active-duty soldiers, veterans, military families--count on us to support you through prayer, correspondence and other resources geared just for you as you protect our country's freedom."
Contact: Pastor Skip Reeves, sreeves@calvary.org, 763-231-2965

NAMI Vet Connection
Metro and Detroit Lakes
"Vet Connection groups are free and open to all veterans interested in learning more about coping tools or approaches to reintegration issues."
Metro contact (for men): Molly Black, 651-645-2948 x106
Metro contact (for women): Rachel, 952-818-7343
Detroit Lakes contact: Mary, 218-841-4863

Vet Centers
"Provide individual, group and family counseling to all Veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members."
Duluth contact: 218-722-8654
Minneapolis contact: 763-503-2220
St. Paul contact: 651-644-4022

Troop and Family Counseling Services for National Guard and Reserves
National
"A free, 24/7 service for military families."
Contact: 1-888-755-9355

Not Alone
National
A website where, "warriors and families share their experiences in fixing their lives. Here you will find others that deal with the war after the war every day. Here you will get real help."

DCoE Outreach Center
(see listing above)

Education
MyMilitaryEducation.org
Statewide
"Connecting you with educational benefits and resources to help you succeed in college."
Regional coordinator contact list can be found here

Veterans Transition Center at the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
"We exist to support the veterans of our country's Armed Forces and our main goal is to help student veterans smoothly make the transition from military to civilian life."
Contact: Aaron Ledebuhr, VTC@umn.edu or 612-624-2913

MnSCU Veterans Services
Statewide
Click here for regional contact list

Veterans Upward Bound at MCTC
Minneapolis
"Veterans can receive career, personal, and financial aid counseling, enrollment assistance, GED preparation, and one-on-one tutoring. In addition, a full-time VA benefits counselor is on staff to assist veterans in applying for educational benefits."
Contact: Kent Fritz-Smead, 612-659-6582

Employment
Veterans' Initiative Center & Research Institute
Minneapolis, MN
"The VICTRI is a cutting edge, state-of-the-art center built to assist Veterans and their family members to start, build and sustain successful businesses or initiatives through education, services, support and research."
Contact: Jack Scharrett, 612-353-5600, jack@victri.org

DEED Veterans Employment Services
Statewide
"From individual employment counseling, to assistance in all stages of job search, to direct referrals for job openings, to job training for disabled veterans, to helping convert military training to civilian credentials, we offer a wide variety of specialized employment and training services to veterans."
Click here for employment reps by office location

Career OneStop
National
"The Key to Career Success campaign connects veterans and transitioning service members with high quality career planning, training, and job search resources"
Find a career center near you.

Resource Employment Action Center
Metro and St. Cloud
"JOBS for VETERANS, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is designed to help veterans find the job that best utilizes their skills."
Contact: 612-752-8400

Financial support
Minnesota Military Foundation
Statewide
"The Minnesota Military Family Foundation distributes money through grants and loans to Minnesota Military Families of deployed soldiers that need a little help."
Contact: Terry Palmer, 763-544-2255, info@minnesotamilitaryfamilyfoundation.org

Housing
Minnesota Assistance Council for VeteransDuluth, Mankato, Metro
"MACV exists to directly help veterans and their families affected by homelessness or those in danger of becoming homeless."
Dulth contact: Durbin Keeney, 218.722.8763
Mankato contact: Sue Sorenson, 507.345.8258
Metro contact: Jimmy Collier, 612.726.1327

HousingLink
Statewide
"Source for affordable housing-related data, information and resources."
Contact: 612-522-2500 or info@housinglink.org

Kids and Family
Operation: Military Kids
Statewide
"Helping kids feel connected, active and supported that have been affected through recent troop deployment"
Contact: Kia Harries, kharries@umn.edu, 507-372-390 or Amber Runke, runk0014@umn.edu or 612-624-8198

Operation Homefront
National
"Operation Homefront provides emergency and morale assistance for our troops, the families they leave behind, and for wounded warriors when they return home."
Contact: 800-722-6098

Project New Hope Retreats
Statewide
"Provide Veterans and their families the education, training, and skills necessary to manage their lives after wartime service."
Contact: Jen Billington, 218-851-5839, info@projectnewhope.net

Family Assistance Centers
Statewide
"A FAC is an information source for a variety of services for the Service Member and their family before, during and following a deployment."
Click here for contact information by office location

Legal services

Baker Williams Law Firm
Statewide
"We have a personal mission to serve the members of our military family. Our life experience has inspired us to create this purpose. Our goal is to offer legal services to veterans, service-members, wounded warriors and their families at every stage of their lives."
Contact: (651) 773-4111 or (877) 434-VETS

Brock Hunter Law
Statewide
"A veteran himself, Brock Hunter dedicates a portion of his practice to defending military veterans who find themselves in criminal court."
Contact: 612-874-1625

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What's normal?

Posted at 4:34 PM on February 3, 2010 (0 Comments)
Filed under: Accessing benefits, Community, Mental Health

From Jennifer Rico, St. Paul, MN
CW2, Army National Guard, Medevac pilot. Iraq (Aug 2008-2009)

There's still a stigma that trying to find help means that your relationship isn't strong or that you have "problems" that warrant professional help. Maybe all you want are some quick answers about basic everyday issues and don't know who to talk to. Or maybe some things come up that you weren't expecting and you don't know if they're normal or if you should be getting worried.

If there isn't PTSD or a substance abuse issue, then it doesn't really seem like there are any programs out there for you. However, the VA and many other veteran's organizations have been set in place to answer even the most seemingly insignificant questions, so don't be afraid to contact them.

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Join a vets group--or start one

Posted at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2010 (1 Comments)
Filed under: Community

From Ross Holtan, Minneapolis, MN
Left the army as a Specialist (E-4). Was stationed in Germany with the First Infantry Division. Deployed to both Kosovo and Iraq.

The Red Bulls returning this month are not the first vets to come back to Minnesota from Iraq and Afghanistan. A myriad of veterans groups exist to support your return. Join one.

Ross.jpgWhether you're going to school returning to work, you will be hard pressed not to find a veterans' organization in your area. The more established organizations are great; Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion are a great way to connect with not only Iraq and Afghanistan vets, but vets reaching back to WWII. Both groups are in serious need of new membership and depend on our generation to keep them running.

Other groups like the Veterans Transition Center at the University of Minnesota try to connect veteran students with each other on campus. The group also matches vets with student or professional mentors who can help ease the transition. If your school doesn't have a group -- it probably does -- start one. You're sure to find a few vets.

After Vietnam, vets wore their Field Jackets. I can always spot a vet on campus by his backpack.

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