Photo provided courtesy of Paul Oberle
March is
National Social Work Month.  Hope For The
Warriors® has licensed social workers on our staff, staff members working
towards earning their licensing as well as a national internship program that
works with multiple universities.  The
depth of our clinical care work would not be possible without the expertise and
dedication of these staff members.  We
are very grateful for the commitment they make to our service members.  Today’s blog is written by Chrystal Thompson,
a staff member that recently graduated with her Master in Social Work.
 

Hope, Courage & Leadership

This year’s
theme for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Conference is Hope, Courage & Leadership.  In my opinion, this theme is quite fitting for
the future of our country.

At this
year’s Bush Institute’s Empowering
Our Nation’s Warriors
Summit in Dallas, President George W. Bush addressed
a coalition of military service providers from across the country.  The President painted the picture of the
post-9/11 population, explaining that the post-9/11 veterans make up the “one
percent of America who kept the ninety-nine percent safe.”
(Article)

This is the 1%
of the population that left their families to deploy to the deserts in Iraq and
the mountains in Afghanistan.
  Some grew
up wanting to serve their country; others joined the service as a way to
provide for their family.  Some joined
before they were legally able to vote for the leaders of their county.  Officer or enlisted, mechanics or infantry,
pilots or military police, each served with a purpose greater than self- to
defend our freedoms and to protect our homeland.   

Hope,
courage, and leadership; three terms that describe 1% of America.   According to President Bush’s speech, more
than one million Americans will complete their military service within the next
five years, facing the hardships adjusting to the civilian lifestyle.  This transition is not commonly understood by
the American public, or rather the civilians.
Statistics
show that post-9/11 veterans experience higher rates of unemployment compared
to their civilian counterparts.  Post-9/11
veterans experience difficulty fitting into the university systems and drop-out
rates are not declining.  This is the 1%
that never did their job with the expectation of getting news media worthy
recognition.  Today, they simply ask for
acknowledgement of their leadership experiences and skill set that they
fulfilled in a set timeframe and binding contract with their employer: the U.S.
government.  This is commonly overlooked
in the education and employment spheres, in the same homeland where these men
and women laced up their boots each day to protect.    

The 99% of
Americans are needed even more today than they were during the height of our
involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  Physicians,
both mental health and medical health providers, are needed to care for the
wounds of our veterans. Professionals in all industries are needed to offer
guidance and mentorship for our veterans that are deciphering which path to
take in the civilian sector.  Professors
need to have a competency for today’s veteran students.  Businesses need to consider the training and
skill set and assess which position in the company can benefit most from the
strengths brought forth by the prospective veteran employee.  City and community organizers need to
understand that veterans are transitioning from base housing and into the
community, bringing with them their children and spouse. Leaders of our country
need to prepare for the face of the new decade instilling hope, courage, and
leadership in one hundred percent of the American population.

Learn more about Hope For The Warriors® programs