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Thursday, November 11, 2010

TMI, but welcome to my brain on overdrive

‎"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." 
- Elmer Davis.

Last year my method of warding off boredom and frostbite during another Bulgarian winter in my small mountain city involved teaching myself how to knit... it involved lots of frustration and youtube videos, but I have countless scarves to show for the fruits of my labor. This year, even though I really should develop my knitting knowledge and learn how to make something else (anything else - even a knew stitch would suffice), I'm instead giving in to the overactivity of the enigma that is my brain. I've been told by more than just one loved one that being around me and my drive and passion can be exhausting, but let me tell you... I'm the only one who lives in my brain, and I can guarantee you its more tiring for ME! I've known for a long time that God is calling me to help give a voice to our nation's heroes - specifically, the ones who are living on our nations streets. Last week I had trouble sleeping, and next thing I knew, my brain was reeling into a plan for job development and empowerment back in DC with this target demographic. I don't want to get into a lot of details on this forum, but I am EXCITED. And I believe that its doable for me in a more distant future. But in the meantime, I've been doing some background research on the internet about the issue of Homeless Veterans.

And since today is Veteran's Day 2010, I wanted to share some of these heartbreaking statistics from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans website:
  • Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans.
  • America's homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military's anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. 
  • Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era
  • Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.
  • Roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively.
  • About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
  • The VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, but over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has many programs in place to target this obvious need, and there are services available including residential programs and outreach assistance to help our nation's heroes, but they estimate that there are only enough organizations in place to help 20% of vets on the street. The biggest need for this demographic is job assistance and development.... I still feel like our generation needs to do our part to remind our service-members that we haven't forgotten, and we don't take our freedom and their sacrifices for granted. 

Happy Veteran's Day!!!
So proud of the heroes in my life!

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