The first Community Heroes Project training, hosted at Dutchess Community College, has officially come to a close. This cohort consisted of thirteen enthusiastic, motivated and community-minded individuals from across the Hudson Valley, with over 180 years of combined military service. Over the course of three sessions, this group of veterans, current service members and military family members assessed the needs of our community and explored all the steps of organizing a service project.
The Community Heroes training program is structured to guide these already talented individuals in further developing their leadership skills and utilizing those skills to address pressing issues in the community; like unemployment, lack of housing, etc. This is not only a resource to help veterans and their families understand the components of organizing a service project but also an opportunity to develop both a social and support network in the community.
The group began by exploring and defining their community and discussing what issues they feel are most relevant. The discussion focused on topics like homelessness, hunger, drug use, and issues specific to the local veteran population. Ultimately, the group chose to focus on assisting veterans with their transition out of the military through access and knowledge of resources. To help the group further explore this topic, Larry Neumann, Vet2Vet Coordinator from the Mental Health Association, joined us for the second session and gave a presentation. This gave them the opportunity to ask questions and figure out what type of project would be most beneficial.
As the sessions went on we delved into fundraising, budgeting, recruiting and retaining volunteers and more. These community heroes completed a total of ten hours of training and each participant earned a volunteer leader certificate. In just a few weeks these like-minded individuals formed a close-knit group who plan to continue meeting and utilizing the skills they obtained to impact the community. They are still working to develop their project, which they hope to execute during the summer.
If you'd like to find out more about the Community Heroes Project or join the next training session, starting on June 2nd, go to www.uwdor.org/communityheroesproject to find out more.
- Emily Sassano, Community Heroes Project, AmeriCorps Member