VA begins a new nationwide initiative today to increase the number of people and organizations serving Veterans in their communities. It’s called “Summer of Service” and we are asking citizens across the country to join us in serving our nation’s Veterans.
“We have made progress over the past year addressing the challenges we face in delivering care and benefits to millions of Veterans and their families,” said Secretary Bob McDonald. “While there is more work to do to honor our sacred commitment to Veterans, we also recognize that VA cannot do it alone. We are asking Americans everywhere to join the Summer of Service and help us give back to those who have given so much to our nation.”
In the coming weeks, VA will be working closely with congressional partners, Veterans service organizations, mayors and local communities, private sector and non-profit organizations, and VA employees to identify new and innovative ways to support VA’s commitment to care for those who “have borne the battle” and their families.
As part of VA’s Summer of Service, the department will hold an open house at VA facilities the week of June 28. We are inviting members of the community interested in supporting Veterans to come and join us and see how they can help serve our nation’s heroes.
VA leadership has set several goals we hope to obtain before Labor Day. These include:
- Increase the number of VA volunteers
- Increase the number of community partners
- Recruiting more health care professionals and clinical support staff to further expand access to care and reduce homelessness.
- Host congressional members and staffs at VA facilities across the country so they can see firsthand how Veterans are being served and what their needs are.
The Summer of Service initiative will build on VA’s volunteer program which currently has about 76,000 volunteers around the nation. While that might seem like a lot of volunteers, consider that VA completed more that 46 million appointments last year across 1,700 points of care. There are plenty of opportunities remaining to those who want to give back to the Veterans in their community.
While the central focus of the campaign is increasing volunteerism and community partnerships, VA will ramp up recruitment efforts to bring in the much needed doctors, nurses and medical support professionals necessary to provide timely and adequate care to our Veterans while simultaneously conducting the most comprehensive re-organization in its history – called MyVA.
“There is no mission more noble than serving Veterans and their families. At VA, we constantly strive to improve the way we do our job,” said McDonald. “State by state, community by community, person by person, there are a number of ways we can all come together to serve Veterans. From expanded partnerships with the private sector and non-profit organizations, to accelerating hiring, to celebrating the commitment of VA employees and volunteers – we need the help of communities everywhere to succeed.”
Volunteers can help to serve Veterans by visiting http://www.volunteer.va.gov/ to find out the needs of your local VA facility. Follow #VASummerOfService on Vantage Point, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and join VA in caring for America’s Veterans.