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!
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 table asking for help.
That was until in 2012, Nadine was in a major car accident and suffered spinal injuries. After undergoing surgery, Nadine was in so much pain that she could barely get out of bed and needed time to learn how to walk again. Just eight weeks after her surgery, Nadine’s lease was up for renewal, but she knew that she couldn’t take care of herself and needed full-time help. Nadine literally had no place to go other than a women’s shelter, overcrowded with other women and children and infested with bed bugs and rats. Nadine lost her job, her apartment, her car and her independence.
At the time, Nadine’s 21-year-old son was living in Pittsburgh and she knew that she needed to move to be with her son. She called the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System to find out what programs were available to homeless women veterans. That’s when Nadine learned about Veterans Leadership Program (VLP) and its emergency housing program for homeless women veterans called Project Journey. Hear Nadine talk about her experience in the video clip below.
As you can see, VLP’s Project Journey program truly makes a difference in the lives of homeless women veterans. Vote for our organization in the Community Aces Challenge so we can continue to assist these women veterans who come to VLP for help. Look for the link on our Facebook and Twitter pages beginning on March 8th!