Angie’s Volunteer Story

Angie Volunteer Superstar

Angie Newell

Volunteering at Veteran’s Transitional House is a wonderful non-profit organization that help so many Veteran members transition back into society.  The organization is known to so many many in the Veteran community.  It amazes me that many of the residents are in state and out of state.  I asked one out of state resident, “How did you find out about Veteran’s Transition House?”  He replied, “This place is known to so many by word of mouth.”

Sharing your time is a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Initially, I met Kelli Munroe, a VISTA Volunteer Coordinator, is helpful in suggesting ideas to make volunteering worthwhile.  I was so unsure how to help and thought,”how could I possibly fit in as I never fought in a war or served my country?” Kelli Munroe along with various staff members calm my nerves and support me as I found my way to volunteer with the men.  The opportunities can be as simple as offering a pair of extra hands to help out with an event, participate in Earth Day community clean up, or be an encouraging audience for a group game amongst the residents.  Volunteers can also come up with their own ideas and staff members will assist in any way possible so your project can come to fruition.

Angie planting flowers during Comcast Cares Day

Angie planting flowers during Comcast Cares Day

Volunteering does seem effortless as conversations and laughter flow while a rapport is built with the men, staff members, and other volunteers.  I look forward to my next volunteer opportunity to see some unfamiliar faces amongst some familiar faces and know that some of my residents left the program to travel back to their city, town, or state transitioning back once again to be a productive member of society.  This organization works within the community and has a recipe of success to house the homeless, provide skills, and various therapies, to help veterans get back on their feet.

It is a pleasure to write about my organization and an even greater pleasure telling others about the great work that Veteran’s Transition House does each and everyday.  I truly feel it is my mission to encourage others to bring their vision and talent to share with a very grateful veteran community.

Sincerely,

Angela Newell

A Letter from Jeff

 

imageMy name is Jeffrey Dacey and I am currently a client at the Veterans Transition House. Before I tell you about my experience here, let me give you a brief summary of my background. I am 28 years old and I grew up in the suburbs of Boston. I had a great, loving childhood, with two caring parents and one younger sister. I began drinking and using at the age of 14, mainly to fit in and feel a part of something. At 19 years old I joined the U.S. Army, thinking that doing so would solve my problems. I received an Other Than Honorable discharge on behalf of misconduct (drug & alcohol abuse). I was discharged prior to my 21st birthday.From there my disease rapidly progressed and escalated into intravenous drug use. I have been to many detox’s and 30 day programs, along with four halfway houses.

I entered the Veterans Transition House on January 2nd, 2014. I came into the program with two warrants. One for failing to appear in court for a drug possession with an attempt to distribute and another outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license. I was very fortunate to enter this program with these warrants because most places do not allow it. Upon entering this program I was very motivated and willing to stay in recovery. I started taking immediate action, starting with clearing up my warrants. Then I started taking full advantage of what this program has to offer.

I was welcomed by a great Staff that made me feel safe and comfortable.

I was very pleased with the schedule here; it keeps me busy and focused. I find the groups that are held during the day here are informative and interesting. Unlike other program groups that are boring and repetitive, these are always different. The Staff always comes prepared, with a positive attitude, and with a respect for every individual in the group.

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Jeff volunteering with Operation Clean Sweep

Another aspect of this program that I felt is extremely helpful to me is the diversity of outside self-help groups (AA & NA) that the VTH vans drive to daily. It was imperative for me to start building a network and without the help of transportation from the VTH this would’ve been nearly impossible. Involvement with the community is another part of this program that I am very happy to be involved with.

The VTH also provides me with transportation to outside appointments. Getting to and from outside appointments is vital for my physical and mental recovery.

All in all the VTH Staff has helped me recognize and accept my disease of addiction. In the short time that I have been here, I have accomplished so much. I feel that there is still a lot that this program can offer me and I plan on taking advantage of all the resources available to me.

 

 

Sincerely,

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Jeffrey Dacey

Resident of the VTH

“Discharged after 11 years, with no money, no home and $2 dollars in my pocket, I found a brand new home at VTH.”

Larry MLarry Moore, an Army and Navy veteran, recently celebrated a joyful 59th birthday with his twin brother, favorite cousin and fiancée in his home town of Oxford, NC. It was a relaxed and connected family visit that “would not have been possible before VTH,” Larry says.

He explains: after a total of 11 years in the service, Larry was discharged in 1987 because of drug use. He found himself alone at midnight on an icy night with $2 (and a joint) in his pocket. It took him three hours to walk home.

From then until 2007, Larry cycled in and out of sobriety programs and life on the street. A well-spoken, well-mannered southern gentleman, Larry “felt out of place” on the streets, but his powerful addictions, and self-esteem issues, kept pulling him back.

A succession of drug and alcohol treatment programs brought Larry to Connecticut and then to Brockton, MA, where he spotted one of the three vans we use to provide transportation for our clients. As a veteran, the name “Veteran’s Transition House” intrigued him. “I was tired of dealing with crises and consequences,” he says. “I didn’t like the way I was living and feeling. I was getting too old not to have anything to show for it.”

So Larry enrolled and moved in. Right away, the VTH case management staff began providing not just sobriety maintenance but the help and connections he so vitally needed to move forward.

“The main thing for me was finding employment,” he explains. “The staff immediately helped me transfer my Connecticut license to a Massachusetts one.” He wore a suit for interviews that had been donated to VTH. He even saw a car for sale nearby, and a fellow resident with a background as a mechanic helped him fix it up.

“Everything fell into place,” he says.

Because Larry had previously worked for special needs and vocational programs, his case manager helped link him with positions at the May Institute and the MA Department of Mental Health. He’s been employed ever since.

“When I moved to New Bedford in 2007, I had no family and no connections,” says Larry. “VTH provided so many connections, and a base to work from. Since I’ve been here, I’ve connected with people in recovery, found a church, made friends and met my fiancée. I found a brand new home.”

Larry, who admits that he needed to go through the VTH program twice, has been sober for a year now, and has his own apartment

“This is good quality help,” Larry explains. “It’s so much more than just a treatment program. VTH gives you a hand up, but you’ve got to exert yourself, too. You’ve got to get back on your feet and take care of yourself.”

And now, Larry is helping other veterans.

VTH was recently awarded a grant from the VA for a new program that provides outreach to area at-risk veterans who might be falling through the cracks. Although Larry was very happy with his current job, he was intrigued when he saw the position of full-time Outreach Specialist posted at VTH.

Says VTH Executive Director Jim Reid, “Once we were awarded the grant, I set up a committee to interview for the positions of Outreach Specialist, Housing Specialist and the Lead Case Manager. We’d gotten to the Outreach position, and felt we didn’t have the right person for the job, so I asked about Larry and he was available for an interview. He interviewed well and all three of us unanimously selected him. He has the skill set necessary for the position and we felt that he was the perfect person for the job.

Larry wore his donated suit for the interview.

He was hired and began work at the beginning of October. Larry and his new colleagues have already made numerous contacts and inroads into the community and are poised to help even more veterans take charge of their lives. His excitement about being able to provide help from a personal place is palpable.

Larry working a booth at a bike ride.

Larry working a booth at a bike ride.

“I can tell them, ‘there was a time when I was homeless, and drinking. I know how you feel,’” he says. 

Larry will be drawing on his years of hard-won experience and his new-found connections to help fellow veterans get back on their feet. He’ll be using his experience as a counselor and helper to extend VTH’s reach even further into the community.

“I wouldn’t be here without these people,” says Larry, citing individual VTH case managers and staff who helped him along the way. He couldn’t be more pleased to now be part of the VTH staff team. “Sometimes, I think everything happens for a reason,” he explains, “this is definitely the path I was meant to be on.”

When asked if we could use his full name and details, and if he’d be willing to talk to our supporters about his journey, Larry readily assents. He is proud of where he is in life, and proud to be a VTH “success story.”