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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Life Renewed International Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Operation Not Forgotten is a program of Life Renewed International, a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization, and was created to help veterans and their families achieve a better quality of life. Operation Not Forgotten operates through peer-support groups called Vet Life Communities. WHAT IS A VET LIFE COMMUNITY™? Operation Not Forgotten is a mission of Life Renewed International, a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization, and was created to help veterans and their families achieve a better quality of life. Operation Not Forgotten works through Vet Life Community, a network of local weekly peer-based support meetings - the buddy system, veterans helping veterans, families helping families face to face - offering the tools necessary to assess needs and determine what, if any, help veterans and their families may require as they transition back into civilian life. Our Quality of Life Assessment instrument provides an accurate, graphic picture of the veteran’s readjustment back into his family and offers our trained Life Coaches a blueprint to guide veterans’ success. Veterans also work in our Step By Step Twelve Step Journal and apply new insights to the challenges they face as they rejoin society. Another important aspect of Operation Not Forgotten Vet Life Communities is the renewed sense of brotherhood/sisterhood that veterans felt when they were in the military. Vet Life Community is a place where veterans can meet other veterans and form new friendships with people who really understand; people who have “been there”. Community members often get together for Sunday afternoon ball games, camping, televised sports, or even just a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. Families can come together for backyard cookouts, or barbeques, hiking excursions, trips to the beach, or just sharing a meal … The important thing is there is someone there for veterans to reach out to; a buddy to “have our six” – a place to find support … a Vet Life Community. Vet Life Community is designed to create a confidential, community-based meeting place. Meetings are free for all participating veterans and their loved ones. Contact Information: Steve Schiffman – steve@liferenewed.org

Results: https://operationnotforgotten.com/page/what-experts-and-veterans-say

Target demographics: Veterans and their families

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: free veteran peer mentoring, Quality of Life Assessment, Life Coaching

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Christopher C.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As I had stated in 2017 when I began attending Life Renewed (Vet Life/Operation Not Forgotten), I cannot say enough about this organization on how they have helped me and just being able to talk and work things out with fellow veterans and the like. They are top notch and wish more organizations were like this one where there is no shame and all is kept with each other and not shared with anyone outside the meetings. The comradery is something that I have certainly missed from those days of me serving but not anymore as we veterans understand each other like no other.

Christopher Collins
Cold War veteran-USAF 6915th ESS 1983-1987.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about this organization on how they have helped me and just being able to talk and work things out with fellow veterans and the like. They are top notch and wish more organizations were like this one where there is no shame and all is kept with each other and not shared with anyone outside the meetings.

Christopher Collins
USAF 6915th ESS 1983-1987.

1 John A G.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a volunteer I was excited to help fellow veterans. Little did I know that the weekly meeting we hold would help me deal with my own ptsd issues. I would recommend this program to any veteran who is having problems of any kind. Plus the commeradery is an extra added bonus.

1 Chris Pergantis

Board Member

Rating: 5

LRI, inc. has more recently been providing the basis for their Operation Not Forgotten ministry. I was involved with Life Renewed International much earlier when they were fostering a very successful welfare to work ministry. They had asked me to come in to determine what help my company could give their assessment software being used in the facility. Their existing programs and the value they placed on measuring their programs was impressive. They provided a thorough set of approved life assessments, within a software system. Within 10 minutes of stepping into this ministry project, I realized the power of their measurement system and what this would mean for any social program. I also realized the care and complete understanding of human nature and human healing that existed within the comprehensive social programs they developed evidenced in their materials and training. I have stayed with this non-profit in an advisory position now for 16 years. I will continue to support them as I believe that this is a grand future for all social systems if adopted.

1 Mary Reyer W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a wife and mother of veterans. This group has offered a nonjudgemental place for Veterans to go. They can go and talk or just talk about talk about the last football game!! The fact this program offers help to children and includes the whole family is so exciting.

1 James W Kurth J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over a year ago we started the first Vet Life Community of Operation Not Forgotten in the state of Texas. We love connecting with other veteran families and sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

1 Phyllis S.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for your dedicated work with this organization. Your program is helping to save the lives of men, women and their families. Thank God you designed this program for Veterans and their families. To my knowledge, It is like no other and our prayers go up daily for you and your organization. We pray it will only be a short time before people in need will only need to travel a short distance to one of your communities. All of Gods Blessings!

Phyllis Slaght
Assistant Director
CCRW Vet. Celebration



2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Steve Schiffman made a presentation to my Rotary Club. Was interested as retired pastor in becoming a life coach.
A Vet myself, never in combat, know many who were and have suffered greatly. Attend and participate in the Vet Life Community one/week and have witnessed how other vets have benefited and have myself. I am all in with this organization.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a veteran myself, I have done a lot of volunteer work for Operation Not Forgotten, which is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping our vets assimilate back to civilian life and to help those with mental and physical issues. They provide a wide variety of services to our vets at absolutely no cost, and use a peer-on-peer model of counseling which is highly effective.

2 David S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This nonprofit is one of the best that can in my opinion that reaches into the emotional and physical lives of not only the veterans but to their families as well. I have seen first hand the difference it is making in those that take part week after week. Their outlook and ability to talk about their fear, sorrow, grief and guilt has given them a freedom to slowly move forward.
Week after week man (our group now) return and most weeks we have added a new veteran.
I know other nonprofits serve the veterans but this one (the only one I'm involved with) is outstanding.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I apologize ahead of time for any misspellings or add a word phrases I am using voice writing system because of some of my nerve damage issues working on keyboards can hardly .
I learned of a veteran gathering will be in an impression at the Emory veterans program VSO Show me a flyer of the Warrior not forgotten, group class every Thursdayit was located in dallas ga, where I reside at now for the last five years sent being medical discharge from the Marine Corps.be in there allows me to build up my veterans network ,so many of us but we don't know where all even though I can't do much I still try to help other veterans, even though I'm still trying to fight my battles on my side. I know I can't do it alone again they together we can help also from the elder Vet always look for guidance from them might be too Young is in my group many things am humbled when I'm told that apparently I provide something to it you know I don't know what really good learning for meI want me hope that this helps other veterans not just me for when I healing So does the others veterans a come to the class as well.


2

Board Member

Rating: 5

ONF is unique among veteran support programs in that it creates and supports veteran peer to peer counseling at the community level where it is needed. ONF is designed to assist veterans of all eras and ages and is expanding to include female veterans shortly. By supporting veterans on a local level and in rural areas it is providing support that you will not find in the VA support programs or other larger organizations such as WWP. The greatest need for veteran support is not in the large cities but rather in the mid-size and smaller towns in rural American that have been either neglected or forgotten by many programs. ONF has a robust set of program guides and assessment tools that provide confidential feedback between the life coach and the veteran. I am not aware of any other program that exists today for veterans that has the depth of tools to help our nations veterans.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been retired for 12 years and volunteered in a number of organizations. This organization has an outstanding training and preparation program with a mission that is well conceived and designed. Our area has a history of producing dedicated men and women that have served in our armed services with pride. Although I'm a newly trained volunteer I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to serve returning veterans with getting reestablish in civilian life. Many of our veterans need a friend and someone who has life experiences to help give them support when they need it most. I'm proud to be a Life Coach!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Greetings from a Vet that is "on the other side".

I am a 20+ year Veteran. I have only been involved in the Vet Life Community program for a few months, but those few months have benefited me, and my family, more than the decade of trying to stand on my own..

Veterans have a "never give up" mentality. I remember doing field maneuvers as a recruit. The drill instructors would give commands that we would carry out. One command in particular was, "RETREAT"!! The immediate and loud response from the recruits was, "STAND AND KILL"!! I clearly remember them teaching us that if you have run out of ammo, knives, sticks and rocks, then you physically take on the enemy and bite out their Adam's apple!

This mentality is ingrained in veterans. I recently went into a car parts store where I knew the gentleman behind the counter was a fellow veteran. I shouted out "Semper Fi!!!" He responded, "DO OR DIE!!!", and his response was just as loud, strong and confident as a new recruit.

All Vets, regardless of their branch of service, have that "never give up mentality," and now in our post-military time, we Veterans feel like a failure if we even consider asking for help.

I am currently dealing with medical problems related to the Gulf War Illness. In my situation, I was medically discharged from the military and started receiving benefits from the VA. I must say that my experience processing through the VA was not the nightmare that I have heard so many other veterans share.

In addition to physical issues, I also deal with a reoccurring nightmare that stems from an experience while still in boots. I was in a situation that only a Soldier would experience and would have to deal with. At the time of the experience, I squashed it all down inside of me and simply drove on. Today though, this and so many other situations that I have "squashed down," can handle, and every once in a while it blows wide open!

When I say that "I" am dealing with these physical and mental issues, it is not the complete truth. When the nightmares come, when the pain comes, when the mood swings come and when the struggles come, my wife, my sons and my daughters are all impacted. All of them have to "deal with" my issues. I try my best to hide them from the family. My wife and I have always tried to shield our children, but sadly, in all our efforts and good intentions, it has not been an easy path.

A few years back I did seek out help from a counselor. At that time, I knew I needed help and even wanted help. After a few sessions, I could tell from her comments that even though she had the best of intentions, she was not anywhere close to comprehending. The thing was, she was not a Vet and she could not grasp what I call, "the Veteran Mentality". It is simply a different way of seeing the world and dealing with the world.

I went to a few AA meetings. I felt that I would be around people who were also struggling. I thought I might even meet Veterans there who could understand what I was going through. Even though I enjoyed the meetings, it was not a good fit for me. My issues were different and I did not feel like I belonged there. Specifically, I did not feel like I could get up and share my struggles because they were not related to substance abuse.

In my head, what I wanted to find I was a group of Vets, sitting around, sharing their issues without worrying about being judged, and without having to explain the military mentality. Since I was unable to find that, I continued to just squash my issues down inside me and drive on.

In November 2016, I finally hit rock bottom. I took my cell phone, hid in the bathroom, talked quietly and called the VA. I was asked to come to the main hospital for an evaluation. They told me the specific days and the specific time and said to come early or that I may not get seen that day due to the high volume of Veterans and then I would end up driving back on another day. And they also told me to "be prepared to wait".

I asked if they could just go ahead and tell me if there was group counseling for Veterans in my area. They said that they did not have any information about that. Needless to say, I was very surprised. Finally they suggested checking with the American Legion.

I got excited because it was, in fact, a great idea that I had not already thought of.. I have been a member there since before I retired. I support the American Legion and the people there have always made me feel welcome. So, now I had received the lead that was going to get me out of this funk.

My bubble burst when I called. I was told that the Legion did not have any type of group counseling nor did anyone there think that there was anything like that at other legions. I could not believe it! Surely they know the insane suicide rate among veterans. I did get one good thread of help from them. A lady there had talked to Steve Schiffman about his program, Operation Not Forgotten, and she gave me his phone number.

I immediately called. Steve told me that the program was designed specifically for veterans – by veterans. After talking to him, I felt like I had received an early Christmas present.

When my first meeting came, I was ready. I was ready to release that pressure that I had been squashing down inside of me. Out of respect for the others at the meeting, I tried to keep it brief, but just hitting the high points felt like I had finally exhaled after holding my breath for a long, long time. Even though it was the first meeting and I didn't know the others very well, I still felt comfortable getting it out.

The Vet Life Step By Step Journal is absolutely amazing. It asks questions that have helped me dig out and deal with issues that I have crushed down inside of me and had never wanted to think about again. Sometimes it feels like I am pulling scabs off my heart as I am forcing myself to deal with these issues. Now, when those ugly thoughts appear in my head, they do not seem to have the control over me that they did. I can honestly say that without the extra ugly baggage in my head, I can drive on a whole lot easier.

I was asked to share my experience with Operation Not Forgotten / Vet Life Community and I hope that what I shared made sense. My best experience related to this program, by far, has been when my family told me how pleased they are that I am going to the meetings, and that I appear to be a happier person. I know that I still have a ways to go, but my message to other Veterans is that I have reached the other side and it is good.

Jim - Paulding County Vet Life Community