From the Trenches of South Florida, Cedric Halyard is Ending Homelessness for America’s Veteran Families
Cedric Halyard, Director of Veteran Outreach for Operation Sacred Trust, overcame homelessness and addictions after returning from deployment in Operation Desert Storm. His personal experience has helped him help more than 1,000 other Veterans and their family members who are homeless or at risk of homelessness rebuild the foundation of their lives.
“More than one Veteran has talked about having it all one day and then finding himself living on the streets, a car, storage unit, bus stop, train station or abandoned building the next, having lost everything,” says Miguel Marquez, Outreach Specialist for Operation Sacred Trust.
After four years of Army service, including deployment to the Middle East, Gabby Cornett saw the lasting impact on her brother firsthand. His struggles inspire her daily commitment to help South Florida Veterans reconnect with themselves, loved ones, and access the resources they’ve earned.
Love of Country Inspires Rebecca King’s Commitment to End Homelessness for America’s Veteran Families
Rebecca King, a military spouse and Family Support Specialist for Operation Sacred Trust, relocated to Florida from the midwest to serve on the frontline of a Department of Veterans Affairs initiative to end homelessness for America’s Veterans.
With a husband who is a Veteran and stepson currently deployed to Afghanistan, Denise Martino can relate to the unique needs of Veteran families. As Intake Specialist for Operation Sacred Trust, she’s often the first point of contact for struggling South Florida Veterans who reach out with the hope of ending homelessness.
Juan Garcia lived through his mother’s struggles as a single-parent while his father was serving in the Korean War. While his father returned home emotionally and physically sick, he “was a great father” who made it possible for Juan to go to college and earn his degree. Today, as a Family Support Specialist with Operation Sacred Trust, Juan Garcia is helping hundreds of South Florida homeless and at-risk Veterans learn to strengthen connections with family, friends and social supports and obtain stable, affordable housing as the foundation to rebuilding their lives.
Clifford Johnson shares his experience overcoming years of homelessness and addictions to serve at-risk and homeless Veterans through weekly resiliency classes in South Florida. Together with the team at Operation Sacred Trust, he’s helped end homelessness for hundreds of Veteran families.
Operation Sacred Trust’s Yvette Costa is Helping End Homelessness for South Florida’s Veteran Families
Yvette Costa, a Case Manager for Operation Sacred Trust, has helped end homelessness for hundreds of Veteran families in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Although Ms. Costa is the daughter of a Veteran, it was ultimately the help she and her family received from the Department of Veterans Affairs during difficult times that led her to dedicate her life to serving the Veteran community.
PAIRS Foundation’s collaborative program with the Department of Veterans Affairs was recognized Wednesday with the prestigious “Spirit of Planetree” award for strengthening relationships among family, friends and social supports as a critical component of patient-centered care and improving outcomes for Veterans impacted by post traumatic stress.
As a chaplain at Naval Station Norfolk, the worlds largest Naval Station, Lt. Sharon Wheaton helps military families find the strength and skills needed to navigate stressful lives. Chaplain Wheaton completed PAIRS Professional Training at the Hampton VA Medical Center in September to bring evidence-based, relationship skills classes to the Sailors, Marines and Coasties she serves.
“Marriage and Relationship Education builds a resiliency in a couple that means they are more able to face the inevitable crises that come their way,” says Navy Chaplain Len Driskell, who serves more than 2,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guardsmen, their families, and the civilians who work alongside them as the Sector Charleston and Sector Jacksonville Chaplain.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding training for VA Chaplains and Behavioral Health professionals to help Veterans and their significant others learn evidence-based skills for improving interpersonal communication, emotional understanding and expression, and healthy conflict resolution.
After becoming trained as Marriage Education Instructors by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in 2011, Deborah and Todd Lovell today lead marriage retreats for visually-impaired Veterans and their spouses at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.
PAIRS VA Marriage Retreats are today helping thousands of Veteran couples restore love, intimacy and trust through programs offered by many of the 300 VA Chaplains and Behavioral Health professionals trained by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation.
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Strong marriages and families may be the most effective tool for helping Veterans overcome visible and invisible wounds of war. The Veterans Administration is investing millions in new approaches that help loved ones help each other.
Four of South Florida’s leading nonprofits with a long track record of service to Veterans were awarded $1 million by the Veterans Administration last week to implement “Operation Sacred Trust.” The initiative aims to provide a model of community collaboration, innovative services, and access to affordable housing to end homelessness among Veteran families.
Hampton VA Chief of Chaplains Sue Cross encourages her staff to have dreams and works to give them resources to be successful. She says PAIRS training helped her communicate when she needs support and encouragement.
The BBC reports on helping aid workers better understand and care for themselves as the foundation to helping others.
The Veterans Administration is helping chaplains and behavioral health specialists learn new approaches to improve the well-being and resiliency of servicemen and women returning from deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.