BurghTV Visits VLP: Exploring the Offices of VLP through the Lens of Snapchat

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

“The First Amendment guarantees a free press. We in the media must make sure it is a fair one” (Allen H. Neuharth, founder, USA Today). In October 2015, I began hosting burghTV – Pittsburgh’s Snapchat Story. The mission of burghTV is simple — to create stories of unique events, people and culture of “the burgh” through a collection of short video clips and pictures that can be found on our Snapchat channel. What is not simple includes the missions of countless military troops that work to preserve our country’s freedom and defend the defenseless. Often times, the burghTV troupe can be found covering an amusing event in the city. However, we value showcasing more than just the entertaining side of the burgh. To be fair, we also want to show where our city needs assistance. Our team had not heard of the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania until Board of Director Chairman, Kevin Buck, informed us of the organization. Like the sound of the reveille, Buck’s request acted as our wake up call to cover a typical day at VLP. Last month, the burghTV team headed to the VLP office in Pittsburgh. One of our first video recordings caught an encounter with a veteran struggling with their ability to pay rent. Despite this particular veteran’s financial struggle, they inspired our team with their positive attitude and words of appreciation towards VLP. With the assistance of VLP’s Director of Public Relations Robin Rectenwald, burghTV then visited individual offices of the VLP staff. We came to recognize how many people, including former military personnel, work to contribute to the VLP mission, whether as secretaries, supervisors, or housing/employment managers. Even Executive Director Michael Aaron Glass took some time to speak with us. Knowing most of our viewership falls into the millennial age bracket whom may be overwhelmed with college loan debt and establishing their careers, I informed Glass that our followers may not be able to financially assist VLP. Glass and the VLP team did not shrug at my comment. Instead, they informed our team and our followers of alternative ways to contribute such as donating professional business attire that can assist veterans completing job interviews or volunteering their time to visit and offer a listening ear to veterans. After speaking directly with veterans and the VLP staff, I now emphasize to younger generations that when you hear a veteran humbly ask for help at VLP, you feel an immense patriotic desire to assist those that have bravely served you. As we concluded our Snapchat story on VLP, it became apparent that the mission of VLP is not a simple one either. Like a military troop, we can work together to...

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Top 5 Reasons to Support VLP’s A Tribute to Veterans

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

For the past 24 years, VLP has organized an elegant evening dedicated to honoring and celebrating veterans for their service and contributions to our country. Hundreds, including current military members, veterans, family members of veterans and influential business leaders gather to learn about veteran service organizations, nonprofit organizations and the businesses in the Pittsburgh community who work hard to assist veterans in their transition into civilian life. A Tribute to Veterans has been described as “the premier event in terms of supporting veterans in the Pittsburgh region.” We are inviting you to join us. Here are the top five reasons why you should consider supporting A Tribute to Veterans. 1. Pennsylvania has the 4th largest veteran population in the country—let them know your company supports them According to a recent study published by the Center for a New American Security and reported by the Heinz Endowments, “the veteran population in the 10 western Pennsylvania counties is an estimated 235,000 men and women… about 50,000 of them are veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each year, 5,800 more leave military service and return to western Pennsylvania to face the challenging transition to life as a civilian.” While some of these men and women are coming to VLP for assistance, many others are bringing their friends, family and fellow veterans to A Tribute to Veterans. A Tribute to Veterans has been attended by a wide spectrum of community members. Nearly 600 people—executives, veterans, Reservists, National Guard members and family members of veterans—attended the 2015 A Tribute to Veterans, and we are expecting an even greater turnout this year. As a Tribute sponsor, your company’s logo will be prominently displayed on our website, on signage at the event and in our Tribute program. We will also recognize you to our 4,200 social media followers and e-newsletter subscribers. 2. Community support is essential to our ongoing efforts in assisting veterans facing homelessness or unemployment Every week, VLP receives phone calls, emails and drop-by visits from people who are eager to know how they can help veterans. Sponsoring A Tribute to Veterans is an excellent way to give back to the men and women who have served our country. VLP is an independent, local nonprofit and we guarantee that 100% of the monies raised at the Tribute go towards assisting veterans living in western Pennsylvania. VLP is proud to report that for the last three years, our overhead costs have been under 12%. That means that nearly 90% of our total budget goes directly to veterans in need. It is our goal to help as many veterans as possible find safe and affordable housing, employment and access to additional supportive services. If you would...

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My day at VLP begins at 8:30 AM: Find out how a VLP housing case manager spends his day helping veterans

Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

VLP has a total of 37 employees, all of whom are committed to assisting ANY veteran who walks through our door for help. Our team of experienced case managers include male and female veterans, National Guard & Reserve members, family members of veterans and civilians. Meet Will Steele, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and VLP’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) case manager, who has worked at VLP for two and a half years. As an SSVF case manager, his role is to work with veterans who come to VLP in need of housing. These veterans could be looking for a couch to sleep on every night, or getting an eviction letter because they can’t pay their bills or have no place to call home. To give VLP’s supporters a better idea of what a typical day at VLP looks like and how we are helping these veterans on a daily basis, Will volunteered to share his experience as a housing case manager. My day at VLP begins at 8:30 AM. The first thing I do after I boot up my laptop is get my morning coffee. My morning coffee is sort of a morning ritual for me. I need to get that extra kick to seize the day! I try to make sure I greet every co-worker I see while on my “coffee missions” because once I get into the swing of things, I may not have a chance to get around the office to see everyone. I have to make sure I check my emails and voice messages daily. This is necessary to ensure I do not miss any urgent requests or emergencies that need to be handled right away. If I do, it can possibly cause a client to miss out on an important housing opportunity.  I follow up with returning calls and responding to emails. This routine pretty much sets the tone for the day. I know who I need to be in communication with to get things done. I have to assess everything and prioritize it or else, I would be completely “lost in the sauce” as some would say. When you do what we do, some may ask, how can you prioritize a person’s crisis? Well, you have to look at the situations and act accordingly. Once my day is set, I start working on my daily tasks. A daily task for an SSVF Case Manager can literally be a myriad of things. I do anything from picking up household items for clients to taking them to meet with a potential landlord. I will take clients to the grocery store and to appointments. I personally believe that, it is our job to help guide...

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VLP needs your help! Vote for our Project Journey program to win the Community Aces Challenge

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Veterans Leadership Program (VLP) was selected to participate in the Community Aces Challenge through the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. and the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation. It was launched to honor Isle of Capri Casinos founder Bernard Goldstein and carry on his legacy of community spirit and charitable giving. What is the Community Aces Challenge? The Community Aces Challenge is a social media contest where participants have a chance to win a share of $50,000 to be used for their submitted project. One grant of $25,000, $15,000 and $5,000 and two grants of $2,500 will be awarded to the top five finishers in the challenge. VLP’s Project Journey made it past the first round and needs help from our community to pull through a win! Which program did VLP submit to this challenge? VLP implemented Project Journey three years ago to provide services to women veterans who are experiencing homelessness and are in need of emergency housing. For 10 apartments, VLP pays for rent and utilities, keeps them fully-furnished, cleaned and stocked with supplies and food. In addition, VLP’s Project Journey provides intensive case management services that often requires travel and coordination of additional services. This Community Aces Challenge will make a big difference for VLP and the women veterans in this program. So where do you come in? Community Aces Challenge winners are determined by the number of votes a project receives by the end of March. We need you to vote for Project Journey! Individuals can vote ONCE PER DAY on the Community Aces Challenge Facebook page starting at 12:00 p.m. on March 8 until March 31st at midnight! VOTE HERE! Why should you vote for Project Journey? Here just a few highlights from the program: ZERO recidivism rate: VLP continues to track the progress of past participants in Project Journey. Of the 35 women veterans who needed Project Journey apartments, none have returned for additional emergency housing services 86% of these women veterans continue to be employed 5 women veterans continue to receive additional income benefits to which they were connected to by VLP 10 past Project Journey women veterans have returned to VLP and volunteered with other women veterans who are experiencing similar circumstances Meet Nadine Nowlin, U.S. Air Force Veteran and Project Journey participant Ms. Nowlin served in the U.S. Air Force from 1980-1983. After exiting the military, she moved back to her hometown in Wilmington, Delaware and went back to school to become a substance abuse counselor. When she graduated, she was able to land a full-time job, where she helped people become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life. She never thought that one day she would be on the other side of the...

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Commercial Driver shortage nationwide. What can you do with your military experience and the transportation industry?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Guest blog post: Troop To Tankers By Michael Lynch There is an industry shortage of commercial drivers across the country. There are companies that are hiring, including Troop to Tankers, which is interested in experienced drivers. Troop to Tankers has a National Guard, Reserve and Veteran hiring program. Those motor transport operators currently serving or recently transitioning can obtain their CDL A through the Military CDL Act of 2012. It allows those drivers, fuel and heavy equipment drivers to obtain their CDL A through the state DMV. All 50 states have approved this if you meet the criteria.  You can download the Skills Test Waiver Application on your state DMV site. Once you pass the written test they will waive the road test for you and issue your CDL A. View more information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website here. Don’t pay for a CDL with your GI Bill if you qualify through this act. If you keep a copy of the signed form after your commander signs it, our company will review it and use it for your experience to join our team. Keep in mind that you will still need to have your tanker and hazmat endorsements through the DMV. There are transportation companies that want to hire you. If transportation and truck driving is where you want your next career, Troop to Tankers is for you. We have over 100 terminals nationwide and may have a terminal that is right for you. Prepare for your next career before you transition out of the military and start right away. If you are National Guard or Reserves and need a full time job, our company can accommodate your needs. Take a look at our program at www.TroopsToTankers.com  for immediate considerations. Apply and Select Troops To Tankers as the terminal and our Military-Veteran recruiter will contact you. You can also have us contact you to answer any questions by clicking the contact button. Three driving positions are currently available at the Coraopolis location! Apply online here or contact me, Mike Lynch, at (813) 334-2598. For more information, watch a short video on our program at www.troopstotankers-mike.com. I also ask that you share this message with any former military, veteran or serving service member who needs full time employment, career change or new career. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE Michael...

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Google search leads to VLP receiving great news

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

ChameleonJohn.com, an online tool dedicated to helping shoppers save money on everyday purchases, has recently made a donation to Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania after a simple Google search. “After doing research on local veteran groups in Pittsburgh, it is our pleasure to help Veterans Leadership Program. This donation is our way to thank veterans for their sacrifices to our country from every one of us at Chameleon John.” ChameleonJohn offers online discount offers from thousands of major online retailers and compiles them on one website for ease of use. The company focuses on finding the best online deals to help all visitors to the site get the most out of each purchase. Users can save up to 70% while collecting coupons provided on ChameleonJohn.com. You can start collecting coupons on the website here. Saving consumers money is not the only work being done at ChameleonJohn to help community members. As the company grew, ChameleonJohn developed a budget to make donations to nonprofit organizations. The company researches organizations with a mission to serve others. ChameleonJohn.com has donated to over 100 organizations in the last year and plans to raise that number in 2016. Read more about ChameleonJohn.com and its co-founder in a recent Forbes article here. Veterans Leadership Program was overjoyed to receive this generous donation from ChameleonJohn. There are many costs associated with helping veterans find safe and affordable housing as well as gainful employment. For example, you may recall how quickly expenses added up when you rented your first apartment or bought your first home. You had to buy (or borrow from friends and family) furniture, bedding, towels, cookware and other common household necessities. Those items aren’t cheap! Or, you may recall graduating from college and needing clothes or means of transportation to go to your first job interview. For many of our veterans, they are experiencing a very similar situation, but with no income and a family to feed, any extra money to spend on household items, business clothing or bus passes is hard to come up with. We ask that when you make your next donation, please keep in mind that any donation helps us a great deal when serving veterans who come to us in...

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