Dan Thomas, Give an Hour Volunteer, knows that even though he isn’t a clinician his outreach work and consistent volunteerism is critical to Give an Hour’s Mission. Thomas frequently volunteers to raise awareness through Give an Hour’s Reserve Component Program by supporting exhibit tables at Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle.
“The two soldiers standing before me were obviously buddies. Each of them looked barely old enough to be in the military. They both seemed uncomfortable being at a table that had a sign indicating that Give an Hour provides free mental health services. In fact they hesitated so much that I was a little uncomfortable for them. But, as with many of the attendees at today’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Event, they were following orders to visit the various tables of Community Partners and get the required signatures that showed they had done so.
The two young soldiers were formally polite when I asked how they were doing today. When I asked if I could brag a little about Give an Hour, they visibly relaxed, as I was not trying to “sell” them on any service, but just wanted them to do me the favor of listening. I explained that a soldier, veteran, or family member could simply go to the Give an Hour website and type in their zip code. I showed them on my phone how I did it using my zip code and what kind of service I was seeking, and a number of therapists popped right up. All I had to do was contact a therapist of my choosing. I told them that with clients that I have served, there was no wait for an appointment, no charge, and I did not have to write a report for anyone. The client could come 1 time or for a year. Whatever was needed. The commanding officer or spouse would never know they even contacted me. I encouraged them to take brochures to share with others, who could read about how it works, and they would never know if someone followed through. By this time they were both very interested and said what many folks did today: “Very cool. I had no idea this program existed.”
More than once an attendee indicated that he or she wanted this information for the soldiers that served under them. During breaks in the “traffic” of attendees, I went to the tables of other community partners and told them about Give an Hour. They were very impressed and asked if Give an Hour could send a representative to some of their upcoming events.
At the end of a 7:00-5:00 day I actually felt energized as well as humbled and honored to meet these soldiers and their families. Without exception they were impressed and appreciative of Give an Hour.”
Did you know you do not have to be a licensed clinician to support Give an Hour through volunteersism? Join Dan as an organizational volunteer for Give an Hour.