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Successful Delivery of Presents to the Children of Paradise


Paradise crew makes  time for one final thank you to Family Giving Tree.
Photo credit: Dean McCully

We put out a call, five days before Christmas, to help the Family Giving Tree sort and wrap thousands of gifts for the children of Paradise/Butte County.  Without hesitation, Veterans and community members answered the call and showed up by the hundreds.  Because of this, Family Giving Tree was able to meet the deadline and successfully delivered presents to the children of Paradise.

Here’s a comment from our Board Secretary, Dean McCully; who helped coordinate this massive project.

Once the word went out, literally hundreds of volunteers started showing up at Family Giving Tree warehouse in north San Jose.   In fact, there were so many volunteers that everybody was getting a little nervous about unqualified people hanging around, maybe messing things up, or even getting hurt.

In fact, by Friday morning, it did start crossing our minds that we might actually have to turn away volunteers.  But nope, Jennifer the director of Family Giving Tree realized that she had enough volunteers to actually pull back thousands of unwrapped gifts, and have volunteers wrapping them.  So tons of unwrapped gifts got wrapped, thanks to an immense surge of volunteers.  Wow what an operation!   Wrapping was going so fast and furious that I think if anybody stood still for more than a few seconds, they would have gotten wrapped.   But nobody was standing still, and everybody was moving at lightning speed, and thousands of gifts were wrapped as well as sorted and ready for distribution.

The Paradise wildfire sucked.  50,000 homeless, 14,000 structures burned, almost 90 people known dead and 150+ still missing, lives put on hold or even destroyed.  But once volunteers engaged, thousands of kids had a little brighter Christmas…

You can read Dean’s accounts and see the results here.

Thank you to all who paused from their holiday preparations and celebrations; and made time to make a dismal holiday for others so much brighter – to give hope and joy. 

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A Look Back at 2018

As an up and coming nonprofit organization, we hit the ground running and learned new things along the way.  As we end 2018, here’s a look back at what we have done over the past year. 

  • Launched our core service and presented our mission and vision to the United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County.
  • Visited and hosted events at colleges to share our services and educate students about their benefits and options, as Veterans.
Pizza and chat at San Jose State University
Resource fairs at West Valley College and Evergreen Valley College
  • New partnerships with companies who are Veteran-centered; offering services in education, employment search, and entrepreneurship.
    • Work for Warriors (WFW) is a State and Federally funded FREE Job Placement Program in California. The intent of the employment initiative branded “Work for Warriors” is aimed at assisting Post 9/11 Veterans, Active National Guard, Active Reserve members, Spouses, and Gold Star Families in finding civilian employment in their region of California.
    • NPower is creating pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities.
    • ZipRecruiter created a Veterans resource page to help find veteran-friendly jobs and career help such as career advice or interview tips.
  • Connected and partnered with organizations to raise awareness on the difficulties Veterans face while transitioning to their civilian lives..

Milpitas Rotary hosted an auction dinner to raise funds to support our mission.
Kiwanis of San Jose and Know A Vet put a picnic together for San Jose Vet Center clients and their families.
Vet-Net Summer Summit in Santa Cruz, Second Harvest Social Safety Net Group, Silicon Valley Veterans Summit, Spoke at Saratoga Rotary Club, San Jose Vet Center Christmas lunch for Veterans and their families.
  • Our core team attended training events to help propel us forward.
    • Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
    • Nonprofit Marketing with Social Media
    • Customer Relations Management (CRM)
  • Outreach events to the community

Military Appreciation at the ScoutORama, Memorial Day at Oak Hill Cemetery, Spirit of ‘45, Viva Calle, Day on the Bay, Family Fall Festival at Lake Cunningham, Senior Research and Wellness Fair, Veterans’ Day Parade, Honor on the Row
  • Launched our Facebook page
    • Real-time information on topics about Veteran resources, benefits, employment, education, events, and more.
    • Share our photos of activities we do and participate in.
    • Share information from our community partners.
  • Know A Vet News
    • Our weekly newsletter engages with those who are not on social media.
    • Share resources and benefits news curated from community partners and online sources.
  • Thanks to a fantastic set of donors and volunteers, we were able to provide a hot lunch to the 297th ASMC team who were mobilized to assist the Butte County/Paradise fire citizens.  You can view the album here.

We are looking forward to what 2019 will bring.

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Career / Opportunities July 10, 2018

Goodwill of Silicon Valley:  Local community partner

Main Plant – Mission Services Administrative Liaison
Willow Glen Store – CDP PT Retail Customer Service Specialist
Main Plant – FTR E-Commerce Associate I
Morgan Hill Store – CDP PT Retail Donor Greeter
Main Plant – PTT Good Labor General Worker

Work for Warriors:  Assisting Post 9/11 Veterans, Active National Guard, Active Reserve members, Spouses, and Gold Star Families in finding civilian employment in their region of California.

Palo Alto Networks – All Positions (Tech, IT, HR, Sales, Admin, Eng.)
Academy of Art University – Veteran Benefits Administrator
Technical Safety Services – Field Service Coordinator
CVS Health – Logistics Supervisor
Western Digital – Electronics Calibration/Metrology Tech

Hire A Hero job postings:  Online job board for veterans and their families

F5 Networks – Technical Program Manager
10x Genomix – Associate Product Manager Instrumentation
Best Buy – Major Appliance Customer Service Specialist
A10 Networks – Network Engineer
Sodexo – Executive Chef 3

MadSkills Virtual Job BoardVirtual jobs for military spouses; creates virtual jobs for professionals that allow them to earn a living, where they are, wherever they are.

Full Time – Project Coordinator-Entry Level
Full Time – Customer Service/Tech Support – Entry Level
Contract – WordPress Developer
Contract – Tech Support
Contract – QA Tester

GI Jobs Employment: Resource for civilian jobs and careers, schools, and transition.

Wells Fargo – Personal Banker 1
Wells Fargo – Region Bank President – Silicon Valley
Hilton – Assistant Chief Engineer – DoubleTree San Jose
Wells Fargo – Personal Banker 1
Wells Fargo – Personal Banker Registered 2

CAREER FAIR

work2future – July 11, 2018, 11 am – 1 pm, 1601 Foxworthy Ave., SJ, CA 95118
Competitive wages; direct hire
Employers include: California’s Great Adventure, Chase Bank, FedEx Express, Homecare California, Kelly Services, SJSU Research Foundation, Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions, Universal Site Services, Walters & Wolf

 

The employment and entrepreneurial leads above were pulled from military-affiliated sites and organizations we are partnered with. While we are extremely careful about what leads we post, we do not guarantee employment or success in any enterprise. We ask that you do your due diligence and thoroughly research anything you’re interested in before submitting an application.

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Mid-Year Recap 2018

It is the work of fantastic volunteers, organization partnerships, and civic-minded professionals that has allowed us to achieve great milestones in the first six months of 2018.   We are a small virtual group and rely heavily on volunteers and support from the community. We wanted to share with you what we have accomplished, so far.

 

SJSU Pizza & Benefits Lunch – a monthly eat and greet with military-affiliated students to connect and find pain points in their academic journey.  We were able to share and educate them on resources and benefits available to them.  We helped 8 students with our Self-Help Resource Finder and secured an intern (veteran dependent) to help with our social media content.

 

Military Appreciation Day – SJ Giants – In partnership with Operation Care & Comfort, we distributed more than 300 free games tickets to military members and their families.

 

Military Appreciate Day – Scout-O-Rama – We offered free tickets for this annual “trade show” of Scouting.  It allowed everyone to be a scout for a day.  A fantastic event for families with children looking to explore the Scouting world.

 

 San Jose Vet Center Support (SJVC), Picnic at the Park – In collaboration with West San Jose Kiwanis Club, KAV, Henry’s HiLife, and Whole Foods, 130 SJVC veteran clients, their families, and volunteers enjoyed a BBQ lunch.

 

Memorial Day, Oak Hill Memorial Home & Funeral Park –Throughout the day, we spoke to families visiting their loved ones, to veterans remembering their comrades, and shared information on benefits they qualify for and resources available to them.  We shared stories and memories while sitting on bales of hay eating free hot dogs.

 

Hosted Volunteer Information Assemblies – We appreciate these civic-minded individuals and professionals who attended and asked pointed questions on how they can help our veterans transition into their best civilian lives.  We are more grateful that a few of you have decided to join our organization to help us grow.

Resource Session, Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs – Connected with the hot springs visitors and shared information on local and government veteran resources.

Approved for Benevity Causes – It connects our cause to corporate giving, matching, and volunteering programs.  Our current volunteers are now able to approach the companies they work for to match their volunteer hours or donations.  It has allowed Apple Matching Funds to provide us with a needed service at the cost of $350 in the form of an employee’s time.

Fundraising – After presenting our cause to the Rotary Club of Milpitas and with a recommendation from Denny Weisgerber (Board Member Emeritus), they have decided to sponsor us with a fundraiser scheduled for October 2018.

Partnership –– Created a relationship with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute each other’s literature and card racks during events we host to increase outreach and awareness to the public.  Our Founder, Neil Lichtman has memberships with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).

Employment Opportunity – We were able to provide 48 instead of the requested 30 interviewees for an Apple Mixer event.  Visit our weekly career/opportunity posting to see if you can find the right career that fits your lifestyle.

The rest of the year is ahead of us.  We look forward to serving our military family and collaborating with community and local resources.  Join us on our journey to help our service members and their families transition into their best civilian lives.

 

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Career / Opportunities for June 19, 2018

 

Here are some veteran friendly opportunities.  We do not guarantee employment or job availability.

Hire A Hero job postings:

Bank of America – Financial Advisor
Bank of America – Client Service Representative
Bank of America – Mortgage Loan
Bank of America – Coordinator
Bank of America – Relationship Manager

 MadSkills Virtual Job Board:

Telecommute:
Back-End Developer
Front-End Developer
Rich Media Designer/Developer
Outbound Scheduler
Project Coordinator

GI Jobs Employment:

Hilton – Human Resources
AECOM – Project Manager
Verizon – Sales Associate
Wells Fargo – Teller

Work for Warriors Jobs:

Palo Alto Networks – Tech, IT, HR, Sales, Admin, Engineering
Securitas – Project Manager
Academy of Art University – Veteran Benefits Administrator
Service Champions Heating and Air Services – HVAC Technician
Bass Pro – Cashier

Career Fairs

Choice Career Fairs – San Jose June 21, 2018

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Effective Therapies to Treat PTSD

The path to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery has many forks in the road, is long, winding, and personalized.  Finding the right path that works for an individual sometimes takes trial and error and continuous research.  What works for one may not work for another.  Some work well within a group, and others work best alone.  Sometimes, it takes a combination of different treatment programs to find forward momentum and success.  There are three main options, to date:

Psychotherapy   

The most highly recommended type of treatment for PTSD is trauma-focused psychotherapy.  It takes about 8-16 sessions to complete.  Here three types that show the best evidence for treatment:

  1. Prolonged Exposure (PE): a repeated revisiting of trauma in a safe setting, it allows for a change of reaction to memories of trauma and gives the ability to learn how to master fear- and stress-inducing situations.
  2. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): focuses on the impact of trauma, identifies the negative thoughts related to that event, understand how those thoughts case stress, replace those negative thoughts and cope with the upsetting feelings.
  3. Eye-movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): focuses on other stimuli while revisiting the experience (therapy guided eye movements or follow hand taps), helps reprocess traumatic information until no longer psychologically disruptive.

Pharmacotherapy

When non-drug treatment is not enough, pharmacotherapy is introduced.  Medications have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of symptoms.

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy is another option in keeping symptoms of PTSD from taking over your life.  Here are some organizations that offer these services.

Sierra Club Military Outdoors – organizes outdoor trips for veterans, other service members, and their families.  They provide a unique experience to foster mental and physical health, emotional resiliency, and leadership development. For many veterans, spending time in the outdoors can also help ease the transition to civilian life.  Activities include river rafting, mountain climbing, or fly fishing.  Check out their featured military outdoor trips this summer.

Outward Bound for Veterans – helps active duty service members and veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through the use of the natural world.  Powerful wilderness courses include rafting, sailing, or dog sledding.  Look here for their summer course schedule.

Warrior Built Foundation – The purpose of our foundation is to provide new motivation, camaraderie and to spark their imagination by constructing any type of vehicle from the ground up.  Veterans are exposed to fabrication and mechanics.  Take a look at some of their completed build projects and Calendar of Events / Schedule.

Project Sanctuary – brings health and wellness to military families. They are assessed to determine if they need support and services now or if they can be scheduled for a retreat.

Operation Freedom Paws – Empowers veterans to restore their own independence.  Trains clients to train a service dog for their specific needs.  Builds human-canine service teams.  Provides the support needed for clients to succeed.  Find out more about their Application Process.

Shelter to Soldier – brings veterans and rescue dogs together to recover and move forward.  You can apply online.

One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding – OSC signed a formal agreement with Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System to provide equine assisted therapy to U.S. Military Veterans recovering from the physical and emotional trauma of war.  The pilot program with five Veterans and is now serving approximately 10-15 per week and more than 300 Veterans per year across several V.A. departments.  Get to know these creatures by viewing their Equine Profiles.

National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy – the Veterans Program offers active-duty and retired military personnel the opportunity to participate at no cost. The program encourages physical and cognitive rehabilitation, providing Veterans with a safe environment in which to regain their independence, confidence, and strength.  Their offer services such as equine-assisted therapy, adaptive riding, adaptive horsemanship, or equine-assisted mental and behavioral health.  Read the NCEFT Veteran Program FAQs for answers to common questions about their program.

Choosing a treatment can be very difficult because there are not one-size fits all type of treatment.  To help compare treatments, visit the VA’s PTSD Treatment Decision Aid or take a look at their Treatment comparison chart.  This decision aid helps you learn about effective PTSD treatment options. You can read about the treatments or watch videos explaining how they work. You can even build a chart to compare the treatments you like most. In the end, you will get a personalized summary.

Research for PTSD treatment for veterans continue and we will always be looking for what’s new, what’s working now, and what does the future hold?

Here are links to other sources to learn more about PTSD.
National Center for PTSD
Make the Connection
About Face
Warrior Wellness Solutions
Road Home Program
Give An Hour

Here at Know A Vet?, we strive to share resources with our military community.  Do you know of local resources that have done well in treating our veterans and service members in need?  Please share your knowledge and help us help our vets.

 

 

 

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