Elisa Etienne says through her work serving homeless and at-risk Veteran families through Operation Sacred Trust, she’s learned “to remember that everyone has a story and no one person always makes the right choices; sometimes individuals need a helping hand to regain their footing and remind themselves that they are inherently good and blessed beyond measure.”
As a Family Support Specialist for Henderson Behavioral Health, Ms. Etienne is assigned to Operation Sacred Trust, OST, where she provides intensive support to South Florida Veteran families who are experiencing or facing homelessness to help them achieve housing stability. OST is part of a national initiative of the Department of Veterans Affairs, known as the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, established to end homelessness for America’s Veterans.
Locally, OST team members are assigned to the initiative by collaborative community nonprofit agencies, including Carrfour Supportive Housing, PAIRS Foundation, and Henderson Behavioral Health. The program serves more than 1,000 Veterans and their family members in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Family Support Specialist
Operation Sacred Trust
What inspires you to serve Veterans?
Veterans have a special place in the hearts of all Americans. My appreciation for their service and dedication inspires me each day to serve them.
What is an experience that stands out?
During my time with Operation Sacred Trust, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many Veterans and their families. Every story holds a special place in my heart. With a background in mental health, I am partial to those stories that involve Veterans struggling to overcome PTSD. With so much to deal with in the world, I think it is particularly commendable when Veterans suffering from PTSD are able to adapt back into civilian society in such a promising manner.
What’s your hope for the impact of your service?
I have particularly high hopes for OST as I think the mission to end homelessness among Veterans is amazing, to say the least. I hope that I am not only able to assist Vets with their housing concerns but that I also leave a lasting impression that tells each Veteran and their family that Americans are appreciative for their service to our nation. I hope that Veterans walk away from OST knowing that our program’s dedication to serving them is inspired by their own service to our country, and for that we will always be indebted.
What connection do you have to the Veteran or homeless community?
I have worked with homeless individuals for nearly four years; my past experiences with this community were particular to those suffering from mental health issues. I have come into contact with hundreds of individuals whose lives were completely upside down until they were able to secure stable housing; often times, when these individuals are stably housed there is a greater likelihood that they are able to maintain the activities of daily living, search for and gain employment, and transition back into their former selves. Providing stable housing to a homeless individual can vastly change their lives and allow them the opportunity to gain their lives back. I love that I have the opportunity to be part of that.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned this year?
Sometimes, as a society, we forget that there is a certain ‘inherent goodness’ that lies within each and every one of us. I’ve learned to remember that everyone has a story and no one person always makes the right choices; sometimes individuals need a helping hand to regain their footing and remind themselves that they are inherently good and blessed beyond measure.
|Job Title:||Family Support Specialist|
|Company Name:||Henderson Behavioral Health
Operation Sacred Trust
|Work Phone:||855-778-3411 x823|
|Email Address:||Click to Email|
|Address:||200 S. Park Road, Suite 455|
|Hollywood, Florida 33021|