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Feb 14, 2022 02:20 PM EST

Key Ways College Students Can Support Local Veterans

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Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

(Photo : Lucas Sankey on Unsplash)

For most US veterans (of which there's currently 23 million in total), the transition to civilian life is either very or somewhat easy, while around one-in-four report it being at least somewhat difficult, Pew Research Center reveals. Veterans have undoubtedly made a great sacrifice for the country, and often experience a myriad of challenges after leaving the service. By volunteering to support local veterans, students can help make their transition to civilian life as easy as possible, while also showing their appreciation and support for this valuable segment of the community.

Volunteer with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a top nonprofit organization that helps veterans access quality healthcare. The DAV offers a wide range of volunteer roles that help veterans in this regard, from accompanying veterans to and from medical appointments to volunteering at local VA hospitals. DAV volunteers can also take care of chores (like for yard work and grocery shopping) for local veterans. Not only is volunteering a great way to give back, but it can also help you develop real-world skills like leadership and time-management.

Help out around the home

Volunteering to help local veterans out around the home can be a great way to spend your free time - whether you're clearing gutters, oiling squeaking doors, or raking leaves. Students in or around East Greenbush, New York, for example, can volunteer to help out at the annual Leaf Raking for Veterans event. Each year, over 50 volunteers get together to clean up around 15 lawns belonging to local veterans and their spouses. On the other hand, you may want to instead make a financial or material contribution to Homes for our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially-adapted homes to severely injured veterans. Finding suitable affordable housing is a prime concern for veterans transitioning to civilian life. Fortunately, financial support is available to veterans in the form of VA loans. VA loans require no down payments or Private Mortgage Insurance and great rates, Hero Loan explains.

Shop at local veteran-owned businesses

When you next need to make a purchase, research veteran-owned small businesses in your local area, and make sure you shop there - often! Supporting veterans in their business endeavors is a great way to show them you appreciate their previous and current service. For example, Flags of Valor is a veteran-founded business designed to create employment opportunities for veterans, as well as raise money for a range of causes that support the military. They create beautiful home decor, including tech accessories, wall hangings, and a classic wooden American flag. Alternatively, if you have a dog back home, why not send them a toy from USA-K9? They're a veteran-owned business that makes robust, colorful, and fun dog toys perfect for your pooch.

It's important college students do their part to support their local veteran communities. By volunteering at a VA hospital, helping out around the home, and shopping at veteran-owned businesses, you can show your support and appreciation for veterans. 

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