Shaping a positive future for our veterans, our military and their families.

VA&R Service for Veterans

Department of Alaska
Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation - 2017-2018
Linda Schmitt, Service For Veterans Chairman
Email: lschmitt@gci.net

2017-2018 American Legion Auxiliary Service to Veterans (previously Field Service and Home Service)

Note: Recently, Field Service and Home Service merged. All hours will be combined under the heading of Service to Veterans. A new Service to Veterans pin has been designed to reflect this change. The new pin, for all who earn their hours under Service to Veterans, is obtained through The American Legion Emblem sales at emblem.legion.org.

Service to Veterans volunteers provide service to veterans, servicemembers and their families outside a VAMC. Volunteers conduct projects and work for military/veterans and/or families from their homes and in their communities. Service to Veterans volunteers maintain their own recordkeeping and dollars spent. A new pin has been designed to reflect the work of those who volunteer in their communities and at home for veterans. Hour bars are still available to earn.

What can you do?

1. There isn’t a VA hospital close to your community? Find opportunities for Auxiliary members to provide volunteer hours in service to veterans and their families in local communities and from their homes. These hours will count toward your "Service to Veterans" pin and hour bars.

The Service to Veterans pin has been designed to reflect the work of those who volunteer in their communities and at home for veterans. Hour bars, which attach to the pin, are also available to earn. More information may be found in the booklet Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers available online for download at www.alaforveterans.org. To purchase a printed copy, please visit www.emblem.legion.org.

IDEAS:

Member

  • Support veterans from the comfort of your community or home. Service to Veterans combines community volunteer opportunities and volunteering opportunities created in your home.
  • Crochet stocking hats for the homeless.
  • Bake cupcakes for the local stand down.
  • Help a veteran use the Internet; find out what is needed, then volunteer.
  • Read the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers
  • Sew quilts for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. For more information, please visit www.qovf.org.
  • Help a veteran use the Internet.
  • Supply postage for local veterans in rest homes or assisted living facilities.
  • Organize transportation for veterans to assist them with essential errands or medical appointments; many live far from a VA facility and shouldn’t be driving if they don’t feel well.
  • Contact the Legion Service Officer at your post and offer to be on the list of people to call when a military family needs help.
  • Buy school supplies, throw a baby shower, or send care packages to military kids who are headed to college.
  • Report your Service to Veterans hours to your unit VA&R chairman.
  • See Awards section of this plan for information on Hour Bar Recognition.

Unit

  • Become the catalyst to find needs and encourage members to help veterans in their community.
  • Provide hospitality for a job fair for veterans.
  • Coordinate with local quilt shops to help your unit sponsor a quilting event in support of Quilts of Valor.
  • Contact members, including those who never or only occasionally attend meetings and events and invite them to participate for specific limited duration projects that would help area veterans.
  • Compile and record hours provided by your members.
  • Coordinate with your PR chairman to tell the community what work your unit members are doing for veterans.

Department

  • Distribute information to units and members to help them understand the opportunities to volunteer through ALA’s recently combined category, Service to Veterans, and how to report such service hours.
  • Promote volunteer opportunities available in community settings or from home to unit and individual members. Sponsor informational programs and recruitment tables at department meetings, post and unit functions and at community events. Utilize department websites, newsletters and other media.
  • Encourage units and individual members to participate in the Quilts of Valor project through the Quilts of Valor Foundation: www.qovf.org.

2. Assist veterans in accessing VA benefits including, but not limited to, health care. This should include coordinating with the local American Legion Post Service Officer.

IDEAS:

Members

  • Coordinate with local American Legion posts to identify the local Service Officer.
  • Help eligible veterans attain benefits through referrals.
  • Encourage eligible veterans to use the VA health care system and its services, including hospitals, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, Vet Centers, etc.
  • Participate in and encourage veterans and their family members to participate in town-hall meetings organized by The American Legion in advance of the Legion’s System Worth Saving site visits to VA health care systems: www.legion.org/systemworthsaving.

Resource: VA Health Care Hotline for women veterans: 1-855-VA-Women (1-855-829-6636): explore.va.gov/health-care

3. Assist in activities that help homeless veterans.

IDEAS:

Members and Units

  • Give a helping hand to the Legion's homeless veteran coordinator in your department and offer to assist that coordinator in responding to requests for assistance from homeless veterans or homeless veteran service providers.
  • Crochet hats, scarves or mittens to be distributed to homeless veterans. Use information provided by your department chairman to contact the homeless veteran coordinator at the VA health care system nearest you to explore what the unit or you can do to help homeless veterans in your community.
  • Participate in the VA Project CHALENG organized by the VA health care system nearest to you. (Project CHALENG for Veterans enhances the care for homeless veterans provided by your local VA and its surrounding community service agencies.)
  • Contact your local post chairman and offer your assistance if requests for help come through the Legion’s Family Support Network (FSN).
  • Raise funds for local American Legion posts to help veterans and their families through the Family Support Network for veterans at risk of losing their housing or homeless veterans transitioning to permanent housing.
    • Make payments of overdue rent, utility payments or deposits and security deposits.
  • Host or volunteer at homeless veterans’ stand downs, events where homeless veterans receive free goods and services such as haircuts and medical exams.
  • Contact homeless veteran emergency shelters, transitional housing projects and permanent housing projects in your community and identify the organization's volunteer and in-kind contribution needs, including:
    • Meal preparation and serving
    • Clothes collection and distribution
    • Assembly and delivery of hygiene kits, buddy baskets
    • Purchasing or securing household items or furniture
  • Reach out to specific homeless veterans, such as residents of projects mentioned above to provide her/him practical, social and moral support.
  • Create a “Tree of Warmth” by collecting scarves, mittens, hats and attaching them to a tree in a location the homeless frequent. Include a sign that says “Please Take if Needed,” “Free if Needed,” or something similar.

4. Support rehabilitation and healing of veterans through arts, crafts and hobbies.

IDEAS:

Members and Units

  • Obtain and become familiar with the 2014 edition of ALA Guide for Volunteers.
  • Help your unit and department earn recognition at National Convention through donations to support VA Creative Arts Festivals. Volunteer individually, with a fellow member, or as a unit at a local Creative Arts Festival.
  • Identify arts, crafts and hobby projects targeted to veterans (such as writing, oral history recording, visual and performing arts, quilting and gardening). A unit may organize a project of its own or introduce a unit to veteran arts, crafts and hobby projects already operational in the community. See Arts Deployed: Action Guide and Webinars to help you bring the arts to your community. www.alaforveterans.org/Programs/Veterans-Affairs---Rehabilitation/
  • Contribute donated supplies to help supplement visual veteran artists’ needs for their projects. Contact your department chairman or your local VA hospital coordinator for a list of items.
  • Donate, through departments, funds that help local veterans attend state and national Wheel Chair Games, Veterans Creative Arts Festivals, ParaOlympics, etc.

5. Help the American Legion, State Department of Veterans Affairs and Chamber of Commerce promote job fairs for veterans and their families.

IDEAS:

Members

  • Take part in a veteran job fair by organizing or working at an informational table. Other opportunities include helping implement a Legion-sponsored job fair and/or co-hosting a Legion Family information table at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation-sponsored job fair. Additionally, Auxiliary members may initiate and host a job fair for veterans in their community.
  • Serve as a career e-mentor for women veterans.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, specifically if a house build is supported by The American Legion.

6. Assist and support caregivers of veterans.

IDEAS:

Members

  • Familiarize yourself with the services of the VA caregiver support program.
  • Invite the VA caregiver support coordinator in the VA healthcare system closest to you to make a presentation to your unit, district or community-wide meeting.
  • Volunteer as a VA Voluntary Service volunteer support caregiver if the VA health care system closest to you offers such volunteer opportunity.
  • Become a Legacy Corps AmeriCorps member if the Legacy Corps project is offered in a state or locality near you.
  • Become a veteran caregiver peer support trainer or volunteer.

Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Awards

VA&R Awards Deadlines and Submission Requirements - Taking the time to share a favorite story about the positive impact you or someone you know has had on our mission is worth doing! It helps us tell the world who we are, what we do, and why we matter. Just three simple steps to add your part to our national success story:

  1. Please follow the instructions as you fill out the National Report and Awards Cover Sheet. A report and Award Cover Sheet MUST BE included for each award submission.
  2. Provide details/examples about the activity as outlined in the award’s materials and guidelines section. Entries must be typewritten in narrative form. Include pictures and newspaper articles.
  3. Deadline: MAY 1, 2018 – sent to Department Chairman postmarked or emailed by 5 p.m.

A. Member Award: Hour Bar Recognition for Service to Veterans Volunteers

Type of Award: Hour Bar

Presented to: Member by her department via the ALA National Headquarters

Materials and Guidelines:

  • Volunteers are recognized when specific hour milestones are reached: 50, 100, 300, 500 and 1,000.
  • After the first 1,000-hour bar is awarded, the next bar will be earned in 1,000 hour increments up to 20,000 hours. Hour bars are also offered in increments of 25,000 and 30,000 hours. After achieving 35,000 hours ALA National Headquarters will issue a separate Lifetime Service to Veterans pin.
  • Hour bars are provided at no cost to departments; however, the appropriate pin (from which the hour bar is affixed) can be obtained from Emblem Sales at the department’s expense. See 2014 Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers.

B. Unit Award: Most Outstanding Unit VA&R Program

Award: Citation Plaque

Presented to: One unit in each division (5) announced by the national VA&R committee at the pre-convention meeting.

Materials and Guidelines:

  • The entry must be typewritten in narrative format, not to exceed 1,000 words.
  • Include pictures, clippings, scrapbooks, folders, etc.

C. Department Award: Best Department VA&R Program

Award: Citation

Presented to: One department in each division (5) announced by the national VA&R committee at the pre-convention meeting.

Materials and Guidelines:

  • The entry must be typewritten in narrative format, not to exceed 1,000 words.
  • Include pictures, clippings, scrapbooks, folders, etc.


Mid-Year Reports -- Due December 5, 2017. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by December 5, 2017 to the Department Service to Veterans Chairman.

Year-End Reports -- Due April 15, 2018. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by April 15, 2018 to the Department Service to Veterans Chairman.
Please submit MID-YEAR REPORTS by DECEMBER 5th and YEAR END REPORTS by April 15th to:
Linda Schmitt
P.O. Box 670694
Chugiak, AK 99567
Phone: 907-688-7171
  • Please submit a narrative report describing how members earned their Service to Veterans hours.
  • Please include pictures and clippings if appropriate.

Additional Resources You Can Use

  1. Homeless Veterans Coalition: www.nchv.org
  2. How To Sheet: How to raise awareness in your communities about the ever-increasing number of homeless veterans. www.ALAforVeterans.org
  3. How To Sheet: How to increase donations to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. www.ALAforVeterans.org
  4. Other How To Sheets can be found at www.ALAforVeterans.org.
  5. Quilts of Valor - www.qovf.org
  6. VA Homeless Programs – www.va.gov/homeless/index.asp
  7. HUD Homeless Assistance Programs – www.onecpd.info/homelessness-assistance/
  8. On-Call: Handbook for Homeless Veterans and Service Providers www.legion.org/homelessveterans/handbook
  9. The American Legion Family Support Network: www.legion.org/familysupport
  10. National Veterans Creative Arts Festival Facebook Page
  11. American Legion Auxiliary Veterans Creative Activities Action Guide, www.ALAforVeterans.org
  12. National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov

 

Top of Page ... Home ... Contact ... Sitemap

© 2017 alaskalegionauxiliary.org
Phone: 907-227-8169 E-mail Us

Photo Credit: ©davidmarx - Fotolia.com