West Metro Veterans Fair – Lakewood Elks Lodge #1777
Thirty-four agencies represented the veterans fair this year in Lakewood, Colorado. Each booth was manned with knowledgeable and supportive people whose main objective was to inform and offer services to our veteran population and their families.
Complementary food service was also offered outside on the patio. I spoke with several attendees who felt the fair was a positive experience for them, especially since they have challenges navigating veteran issues on a computer, or only have computer access at the library. Talking with a real person instead of a recording on the telephone was also mentioned as a plus. Below are a few of the thirty-four agencies that participated. The description of the individual organizations was provided by the West Metro Veterans Fair brochure.
Richard Cox and Dan Dietz
Vietnam Veterans of America: Vietnam Veterans of America is a nonprofit organization started in 1978 and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA is congressionally chartered with the goals to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans. www.voa.org/veterans
Carl LoFaro, LSW and Mary Nicoll, MA
Jefferson Center for Mental Health: Jefferson Center for Mental Health’s mission is to promote mental health and provide quality mental health service for persons with emotional problems and serious mental illness. We offer professional, confidential counseling and assistance in accessing resources. We understand the unique needs of the military family. We offer confidential counseling to help with military deployment concerns and issues, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, reintegration following deployments, TDYs, TDAs, reconnecting with spouses, children and parents, grief, loss and bereavement, the specific issues that women in the military experience, the unique challenges for guard/reserve members and their families, substance abuse and homelessness. We can help you accesss education services, veteran employment, housing, military related assistance programs and more. www.jeffersonmentalhealth.org
Brandon Young – Denver Chapter
Team Red, White and Blue: TeamRWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Brandon Young leads the Denver Chapter. According to Brandon, there are three chapters of TeamRWB in Colorado: Ft. Collins, Denver, and Colorado Springs.
Because I am a member of this thriving organization, I can personally attest to the fun and enriching connections I have made participating in their events. As a civilian, I find the interaction with our veterans informative and rewarding.
Volunteers of America: The VOA is committed to ending homelessness for those veterans on the street and preventing others from becoming homeless by providing a wide array of well-designed and managed services to meet the specific needs of homeless veterans. Every night, it gives veterans emergency shelter and, when they are ready, provide transitional and even permanent housing.
The Bill Daniels Veteran Services Center, 1247 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204, (720)501-3367, opened it’s doors in July 2015. It is a collaboration of Federal, state, and local community organizations dedicated to serving veterans in need. Veterans and their families can access services including: housing assistance, employment assistance, VA benefits, public benefits, community resource navigation, financial health, volunteer opportunities, reintegration & peer support.
According to employment specialist, Brad Allen with VOA, since it’s opening, the center has been successful in aiding veterans and their families with the many challenges our veterans face today. Also, VOA is partnering with the Denver Office of Economic Development, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Denver Works to host the 2015 Denver Community Job Fair. The Job Fair is Tuesday, October 27, 2015, held at the Bill Daniels Veteran Service Center. Hours are 9:00 am to 12:00 pm with 9:00 am to 9:30 am slated for veterans ONLY. www.voa.org/veterans
Veterans Assistance League of Colorado: Veterans Assistance League of Colorado is a “Vet to Vet”501(c)(3) organization that was established to provide systems navigation, benefits and patient advocacy, plus peer-to-peer life coaching to veterans living in Colorado. We focus first on assuring that veterans have access to VA programs, understand the VA benefits process, and have the ongoing advocacy they need to get the services they are entitled to in their lives. We provide a comprehensive program such as helping the veteran with housing, health-car options, social service benefits and assistance with disability issues.
Come and connect weekly at their Vet2Vet Drop In Coaching Group, every Wednesday @ 2pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 915 Emerson Street, Denver. www.valcoinc.org
THANK YOU to all of the volunteers and organizers who made the West Metro Veterans Fair successful! And THANK YOU to all of our veteran population for providing our everyday freedom!