Accomplishment Spotlight: Call to Service Corps Members Support Wounded Warriors and their Families March 28, 2013Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
Operation Homefront is a national veteran service organization based in San Antonio, Texas. Through widespread public support and a collaborative team of staff and volunteers, Operation Homefront aspires to be the provider of choice for emergency financial and other assistance to wounded warriors, veterans and military families.
One major way Operation Homefront supports the military is through its transitional housing program, collectively referred to as “OH Villages.” These Villages are congregate residences for wounded warriors and their families. The servicemembers and their families live in the facilities rent-free while they rehabilitate from war injuries and prepare for return to civilian life. The Villages are located near the principal military treatment facilities for wounded warriors.
Services offered at OH Villages include case management, support groups, benefits briefings, and resume writing classes. Counselors also check in every thirty days to ensure that the tenants understand their financial situations, to discuss the transition process, to review attendance at the aforesaid activities, and to determine whether residents still present adequate need for the Village.
In 2012, Operation Homefront recruited three AmeriCorps National members to expand the capacity of each of its OH Village sites: Brandy Lawrence, assigned to the OH Village in San Antonio, Texas; Taneeshna Harrington, assigned to the OH Village in Oceanside, California; and Sarah Kline, assigned to the OH Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Brandy Lawrence has played a pivotal role in many of the functions native to the OH Villages. She is also responsible for event planning, and recently planned and executed two large service projects for the 2012 holidays. Lawrence solicited donations from local groups and organizations, receiving items such as food baskets, gift cards, laundry baskets, storage containers and much more, each of which she repackaged as a holiday gift. She also organized the office Christmas party, which brought Village families together to decorate trees and enjoy the season together.
Lawrence, who in addition to her other duties assists with the day-to-day operation of the Village also manages the organization’s social media presence, was effusive about her service experience. “It’s been a great opportunity,” she says. “The leadership here is absolutely amazing, and so are the residents.”
Sarah Kline has been similarly influential during her time with Operation Homefront. She spearheaded the launch of a new program in her Village, titled “Homework Help,” which, as its name implies, involves tutoring resident children and ensuring they receive the academic support needed to excel. “Kids come after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” says Kline. “[They receive help with their homework] and get time to socialize with their peers.” In the words of one teacher, the program has “helped tremendously.”
Kline, like Lawrence, has found her service to be rewarding. “I absolutely love Operation Homefront. …I feel like I do something different every day. I work with servicemembers and their families and help with whatever they need.”