Former Marine Gregory Jumes says that transitioning back to civilian life was “the hardest part of my military career.”
“You’ve trained for everything you’ve done during deployments,” says Jumes, “but no one really teaches you how to be a regular person again.”
His personal experiences—including battles with addiction and homelessness—were the inspiration behind the veteran-focused Victor App. The platform helps ease the transition back into civilian life. Victor App works to address potential issues by connecting veterans to resources before and after they leave active duty.
“We look at vets in the military community as average, everyday consumers with a leg up on everyone else,” says Jumes, a member at Chicago’s WeWork National Building. “Victor App works to present them with the great opportunities around them they may not know about.”
Helping people who have served their country is also the reason behind WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program, whose inaugural event kicked off in Denver this past May. In partnership with Patriot Boot Camp, WeWork will help military veterans ease back into civilian life and find their place in the workforce.
“At WeWork we believe that by working together, every person and every community can powerfully affect positive change around the world,” says Jon Slavet, general manager of WeWork West. “And we believe we have an obligation to advance that vision by being an active partner in our community.”
Slavets added that the Veterans in Residence program is designed to “support our military veterans with the space, skills, and community they need to find their tribe and create their life’s work.”
We spoke with representatives of other organizations who are currently working with veterans to find out how they are supporting the veteran community.
The Pink Berets
One group that recognizes the lack of specialized support for veterans is The Pink Berets, founded by Stephanie Gattas. She says when working with veterans, each individual requires personalized help in returning back to the civilian world.
“We don’t want it to be a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Gattas. “That’s why the Pink Berets offers a wide range of programs, from group therapy and canine and equine therapy to culinary arts, horticulture, and family support programs.”
The Texas-based organization, a finalist at the Austin Creator Awards, serves an underserved demographic: female veterans.
“Women are known to be the source of strength,” says Gattas. “We’re known to be the caregiver and the mother, the wife, the daughter. So it’s not always suspected that women would be the ones suffering.”
Denver-based Operation Code works to provide veterans with the skills needed to get a job or start a business, particularly in the tech field. At Operation Code veterans are exposed to coding, mentorship and receive scholarships that aid them in attending coding schools.them in using their new skills to get good jobs.
“Mentorship is one of the most important things we do,” says Rick Rein, Operation Code’s chief technology officer. “Our mentors are veterans and non-veterans who are experts in the field. They can help point veterans in the right direction.”
Another aspect of the organization is its work to improve federal legislation by “weighing in on what challenges veterans are facing.” They believe the laws, including the G.I. Bill, should be updated to reflect the needs of veterans today.
A WeWork Union Station member, Rein says being a part of Operation Code has been a gratifying experience. He’s seen firsthand how it has helped veterans and their families.
“It’s cool to see the success stories,” says Rein. “It’s inspiring.”