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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Help Heal Veterans

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Patient & Family Support

Mission: Help Heal Veterans’, formerly Help Hospitalized Veterans, primary mission is to enrich the lives of veterans and military personnel. Healing arts and crafts provide a therapeutic experience for all veterans including those who are hospitalized, in shelters, in convalescent homes and those undergoing therapy for a wide range of physical and mental challenges. Many veterans experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which increase the risk for depression, physical injuries, substance abuse and sleep problems. The kits, provided free of charge to the veteran, become a part of the patient’s treatment plan, giving them a creative outlet along with tangible therapeutic and rehabilitation benefits. They improve fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, memory improvement, anger issues and dexterity as well as decrease the severity of PTSD/TBI triggers including anxiety, memories, sadness and frustration. We work to involve the public in meeting this mission through a broad education outreach program, HHV's therapeutic programs provide a meaningful way for individuals, corporations or other nonprofit organizations to help wounded or disabled veterans, military patients and their families rebuild their lives.

Results: For more than 44 years, Help Heal Veterans has cared for America’s heroes, helping them heal. To date, more than 29 million arts and crafts kits have been given, free of charge, to military service members and U.S. veterans, assisting in their recovery from just about every type of injury. From recuperating active duty service members with wartime injuries, to older veterans coping with illnesses that come with aging, Help Heal Veterans has been there with them as they travel the road to recovery. Arts and crafts provide therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits to patients recuperating from injuries such as amputations, shrapnel wounds, paralysis or traumatic brain injuries. Help Heal Veterans' arts and crafts also provide therapy for veterans suffering from memory loss, stroke or extremity weakness. As projects are completed, they instill a sense of accomplishment, improve self‐esteem, and sometimes even demonstrate unrecognized artistic talents.

Target demographics: veteran and active duty military service members

Direct beneficiaries per year: On average 43,811 individual craft kits were distributed each month. Arts and crafts kits were sent to veterans and active duty military recipients in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Guam. Kits were also sent to veterans and military service members stationed in Germany, South Korea, Indonesia, Canada, and forward to deployed U.S. Navy warships.

Geographic areas served: communities throughout the United States

Programs: Therapeutic materials: see schedule o

veteran assistance and awareness: see schedule o

craft care specialists: see schedule o

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

Linda served in the Air Force 1978-1992. She was stationed at England Airforce base in Louisiana , Kwang Ju Air station in South Korea, returned to Louisiana. then to West Germany Lindsey Air station and then back to USA, Griffith Airforce Base in New York. Linda Bishop has been living in the Grand Junction since 1992. Linda got her first kit in 1994 while she was at an appointment at the VA Hospital. Linda passed by the craft room and was curious as what was going on. She inquired and selected her first craft kit. Linda has been involved in crafting ever since then. Linda credits her expanded crafting to Help Heal Veterans. She has had the opportunity to put together many of the kits and says it helps her dexterity and keeping her spirits up. She likes to have a craft to look forward putting together. Linda has developed relationships with other Veterans and looks forward to coming into to the store and seeing her peers. Linda states that through HHV she has become more outgoing and has become involved in many community groups.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ernest has been coming to Help Heal Veterans here in Grand Junction since 2006. He reports that he gets distracted from his physical pain by doing the crafts. In 2006 he had sciatic nerve surgery and experiences pain every day. Help Heal Veterans has helped him retrain his brain and keeps him occupied and busy and off the prescription medications. Ernest has been involved in volunteering here at the HHV and recently he has dedicated himself to a permanent shift every week. Ernest has been involved in teaching other Veterans some of the skills needed to complete the leather crafts. Ernest reports that without HHV he would have very little to occupy his time. He looks forward to assisting in clinics at nursing homes and assisted living through our outreach efforts. Ernest is attempting to organize and locate a space to gather with other Veterans to assemble and create the therapeutic craft kits.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am not very skilled at this computer operations, but I would take this moment to inform you how very important these different craft kits are to me personally. I have had over 40 different surgeries over the years and working on these projects help me to deal with the pain as I heal. I started doing leather crafts at the age of nine but due to injuries to my hands and eyes and rheumatoid arthritis, completing leather projects became very difficult. Although I have these difficulties, the projects I receive from this organization have been easy and enjoyable to complete. Friends and family benefit when they get a new wallet, purse, clock; etc.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

Cindy is a Navy Veteran that served from 1986-1988.She was stationed in Virginia. Cindy enjoys doing the craft kits that Help Heal Veterans provides her. She has been doing crafts kits for the past two years. Cindy has completed several baskets recently. Cindy reports that doing the crafts kit helps her with her eye hand coordination. She enjoys the crafts kits so much and displays all her finished projects in her cabinet at home.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

HELP HEAL VETERANS is an amazing organization with awesome staff like Rose in Chicago, who is genuine and passionate about veterans and their wellness! It was an honor to also meet the Board of Directors when they toured Chicago. Each of them were very devoted to the work of Help Heal Veterans and that is significant to veterans that they encounter.

It means a lot to me because all of them were not veterans and as a Vietnam Era Army Veteran, I think it is important to also recognize and salute those who have a caring heart to volunteer their time and resources and who have an understanding of the veterans who need us the most. I also loved doing the purse craft. It allowed me the time I needed to just be still and focus on one thing! It was truly therapeutic and self care for me.

As the President and Founder of the National Women Veterans United (NWVU), we are thankful to Help Heal Veterans for providing the crafts that we offer to the military women veterans who we serve. Most of these women are homeless, at risk or in need of peer support. Our military women veteran members also take advantage of the crafts and even involved our adopted Girl Scout troop to help us. It was great getting the military branch crafts also in which we use for decorations in the Women Veteran's Center. THANK YOU HELP HEAL VETERANS!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a veteran. I visit the store in Maywood Il. Manager Rose , Dave and the crew always treat me nice and welcome others with a smile and help us with projects and kits. They are very helpful with know how and service. Thank God their work and kindness. The kits help me to stay focused and relaxed when I'm putting them together. Thank God for Help Heal Veterans organization.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you to everyone who has donated to HHV. Especially thanks to the Maywood Illinois HHV facility employees. They have been a huge help with the therapeutic kits. The therapeutic kits are perfectly named, they provide us with pure therapy while we put them together.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

HHV has made an immense impact on my life. The organization and staff introduced me to the world of crafts when I began to be treated for PTSD and alcohol dependency. Making the crafts they gave me has become a grounding technique for me that I use to help me stay sober and to help manage my PTSD. It helps me detach from emotional pain, cravings, anger, anxiety, sadness, hyper-vigilance, etc. It allows me to focus on the task at hand rather than inward. It's a way for me to get centered. More than a few of my fellow veterans have voiced similar opinions. As soon as I complete this I will begin my next craft! HHV, Thank you very much.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kind and very caring of our Vets and helpful as possible

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a great service....more local advertising could be used....and a wonderful program

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

HHV is excellent job in the area of giving me the opportunity to be social and pursue activities with art, thank you.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Doing great in including all veterans in art activities. Great place to learn, do and visit. Awesome therapy to be able to immerse in classes or get help with your own project. I am so glad someone told me of this place.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mr. Cooper is an invaluable part of the recreational therapy that keeps the hands and minds of our 120 veteran residents buzy. He is very patient and our redidents that he serves look forward to his every visit. We are blessed to have the services of Heal Vets. The craft kits they provide are very nice and really help to keep our veterans occupied and entertained. This is a great organization

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For almost 5 years I have been going to HHV and it was through them that I learned that I was an artist. Rose and Mia convinced me that I not only built things, I am a woodworker before but that I could use the kits and see more than the simple kit by combining the things and adding my own twist.
I have used the kits as inspiration for many projects that many say are both unique and beautiful, and have won awards at the VA Art Fairs.
I have for 4 years now been a volunteer at both the Berwyn, and the Maywood CBC. and Look forward to going in to help my fellow veterans do many various things as we hold craft workshops every month and I am considered somewhat of the expert on woodworking and Model making.
These sessions bring a sense of accomplishment to me to help veterans some of whom I do not know start or finish or just lend a spare hand or ear to make there day a little brighter.
So if you are looking for a place that makes a difference in the Lives of the veterans community stop looking this is it. And thanks Mia and Rose for showing me that even though I can NOT draw a straight line with a ruler I can be an artist.

I the photos below are of things that I built.
The first is a tribute to the Maywood CBC when we moved from Berwyn, it is a sign-in and photo board that my neighbor who also volunteers and I built of Oak. The clock you see is based upon 1 of the kits available at Help Heal Vets but is completely Handmade of oak and embellished with the seals of the branches of service, it has a Westminster chiming movement. The three soldiers statue is just Painted in many colors and it takes on a life of it"s own. I have completed a few of these for a few Veterans and there are no 2 that the colors look the same just whatever I feel at that minute, I use as many as 8-9 different shades of green to give the uniforms a sense of having been worn in the NAM. The last photo is one of the first true artistic pieces I did I combined 2 different kits that I modified to make what you se an Eagle in a Tray that Hangs on my wall.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

A very worthy organization with an extraordinary mission to help our vets through the use of crafts.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Completed a kit with my daughter. Very relaxing therapy turning off the electronics and doing something with my hands - Thank you

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Very helpful and giving organization--provides useful activities veterans can do to promote healing through art therapy.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work with residents who served in the military in 1940's so their ability is more limited - HHV kits have been amazing! We can work 1:1 or as a group. Our families are thrilled when they see the beautiful finished products. I am so glad that HHV is there to support our Veterans.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

They have art classes , with a very qualified and caring artist. Art therapy from here is better than any med \uD83D\uDE01

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

For almost 5 years now my office has worked with Help Heal Veterans to co-sponsor Arts & Crafts days for the military affiliated students at Malcolm X College. Rose Schmidt is a wonderful person and very supportive of veterans. Most importantly, she doesn't mind "getting her hands dirty" by showing others how to build some of the craft projects. Representatives from the Student Government Association have expressed interest in working with Rose to allow non-veteran students an opportunity to show their support for veterans.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Their commitment to the Vets is fantastic and Coop the Tampa HHV rep is great in helping our group Sons of AMVETS serve our vets. Class act operation.