Our Social and Community Involvement Program helps to maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of Veterans by seeking to reduce depression, stress, anxiety, build confidence, and socialize effectively.
Chicago Veterans Social & Community Involvement Program
Our holistic support approach provides a sense of community and belonging which fosters conversation and interactions between Veterans to discuss challenges they may face with their peers; as well as allowing for Veterans to utilize their new social support system until they feel ready to seek other forms of help. By doing so, Veterans can reach out to their neighbors (peers) when they might have a question, need support, guidance, or when they may be experiencing a crisis. Through our social events, Chicago Veterans connects Veterans to various organizations that may be able to offer the tangible support in need, organizations such as the Road Home Program at Rush University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Centers.
Physical activities prodive opportunities for Veterans to meet and participate in various local athletic sports such as co-ed softball, volleyball and bowling. These events occur year-round both indoors and outdoors at various neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Recreational Activities are great for team building, connecting with local community and creating a sense of shared accomplishment. Veterans meet weekly for games and/or practice and are consistently in contact with each other throughout the season both on and off the field.
Community Service Events
Community service events allow Veterans to serve their communities in a way that aligns with our mission. These events give Veterans a purpose and a sense of fulfillment. Community service events include collecting and distributing items for the homeless, neighborhood cleanups, beautification of buildings and participating in local events.
Recreational & Social Therapy
Recreational & Social Therapy events provide consistent opportunities for Veterans to meet, socialize, and create genuine relationships. Our events vary by time and reach more than 40 Chicagoland neighborhoods including Pilsen, Logan Square, Lincoln Park, Little Village, Lincoln Square, Portage Park and Back of the Yards.
Chicago Veterans is continuing to expand their Recreational & Social Therapy aspect to help reduce the risks of suicidal thoughts and PTSD symptoms among Veterans by introducing more family-based events including sporting events such as Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs games, glass blowing workshops, art shows, and plays. Chicago Veterans also partners with multiple organizations who feature similar programs to help Veterans heal, such as Learn Scuba Chicago to provide free dive sessions to Veterans, all in an effort to provide these Veterans in the community an alternate outlet that may be a better approach to their continued healing and transition.
Empowerment events take months to prepare and often require dozens of Veteran and civilian volunteers working together for a shared goal. We currently have two main Empowerment events, our annual Chicago Veterans Ruck March (over 2,500 participants in 2019) and our Chicago Veterans Ball (over 350 participants in 2019). These events allow volunteers and Veterans to meet regularly, plan and execute their shared vision.