Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center
March 15, 2010
Mar. 14, 2010 - Did you know that over 25% of the homeless population are veterans? I didn’t either until I met Albert Renteria, Founder and CEO of SWVBRC (Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center). Mr. Renteria, CWO-IV, USMC Retired, started SWVBRC in 2008 to serve our veterans and their families. SWVBRC’s mission is to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life and the civilian workforce once they return from the battlefield and/or leave their military life.
After learning all this information I knew I wanted to volunteer and jump in and get started right away. I felt outraged that more than 25% of homeless people are veterans and yet the problem is only getting worse, not better. How is this possible? I had to learn more and see what I could do to be part of the solution. One of the most important things I learned is that most veterans do not know what earned benefits they have coming to them so once they leave the military they are just humble enough that they don't generally ask about benefits, and if there isn't a veteran resource center nearby inviting them to learn about their benefits, they will generally do without, without proper health care, without certain paid incomes, and without paid training and paid college funding programs.
It’s been two years now that I have been volunteering and I am so passionate about helping our military and our veterans and their families, that I am currently making a career change so I can work full time helping our veterans. If you ever wonder if one person can make a difference, you can see that they can. Albert Renteria,one person with a vision to help mankind,his brothers and sisters in the military, and above all God and Country. His vision, shared with all of us, is the catalyst to help all of us engage in the solution to veteran homelessness. I invite all of you to look around and give thanks for all that we have in this country and in our homes. We owe those freedoms and our free lifestyle to our military and our veterans. I think they deserve to come home and enjoy those same freedoms, live in a warm and safe home, have food and good health, and enjoy the privileges that they have provided for us. I hope this will inspire you and your communities to participate by volunteering, fund-raising, or donating online or with gifts-in-kind that will help our Southwest Veterans’ Business resource Center doors stay open and grow so we can continue to help our veterans. Thank you, Christine Thayer, SWVBRC volunteer.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Seeing a homeless veteran find permanent lodging after connecting with SWVBRC; seeing him grow and blossom and become more confident as he made new friends, and got a reliable job.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Find a way to engage communities more in helping and supporting our veterans. Communities do care and want to help but the information does not get out to the public easily.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
I now appreciate this county even more than before. I realize at an even deeper level what a commitment and risk the men and women in our military make for our country. They should always know we are there to support and care for them as they do us!
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Staff were all volunteers and it was an honor to see how dedicated the retired military personnel and active acommunity members were that would come in and share staffing the office. They were generous and friendly and helpful making it inviting to go to.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Finance more veteran resources; have more laptops, computer software and hardware for veterans to learn on; have money for veteran stipends and rewards for their learning; open more veteran resource centers and have funding for the rent.
Ways to make it better...
I didn't have to drive so far to go to the center. I drove 150 miles round trip on the days that I physically went to an event at the center. It reinforced that I am committed though.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
To create more corporate and public awareness to create more funding. Organizations giving grants to non-profits want to give to large organizations therefore making it difficult for start-up non-profits to get funding and grow more easily.
One thing I'd also say is that...
Everyday I wake up and thank God for my life and my many blessings. Now, it is time for all of us to wake up and also thank our veterans for our many freedoms and for their commitment to our country.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & Help set up meetings, update data base, spend time with veterans learning how SWVBRC can best serve them.