I devoted 40 years as a faculty member and administrator on college campuses so I have an understanding of and appreciation for organizations designed to assist students. In my experience, few of those have done so with the dedication and sense of purpose thatStudent Veterans of America do every day. Serving our Veterans has to be more than a feel good bumper sticker...and SVA has found an unique way to serve veterans. I have researched and written on the transition combat veterans who become college students make. That work lead me to SVA because the commitment of the organization is to support veterans as they pursue their academic goals.
Student Veterans of America has supported the veterans student group at my college and has provided me and others with amazing scholarship and training opportunities that we would not have without them. They are responsive and they communicate excellently. I am constantly impressed by them and the work they do.
Student Veterans of America has provided me with an array of opportunities that has changed my life forever. When I received an email in 2009 from SVA about starting a chapter at my school I knew it was a great idea and I made it a personal goal of mine. I started as a chapter founder and president, which allowed me to meet other veterans that were like-minded. I felt like I had a sense of purpose once again that I was accustomed to in the military. Our student veteran organization advocated for additional programs and services on our campus to assist veterans on their pathway to success. The National SVA paved the way to make this happen by exposing us to a global network of student veteran organizations from across the U.S. that have developed and implemented similar programs. Overall, the work that SVA was doing to support their comrades empowered me to do more as well. I have dedicated my life to assisting veterans, first as a chapter leader, then as a state leader, and now in my current position as an elected member of the National Leadership Council. By volunteering for SVA and interacting with veterans on a daily basis I have realized that I want to live a life of helping others in my community. As I graduate in the Spring I can say with confidence that I have created my own personal career path and look forward to the opportunities that lay before me in the future.
Student Veterans of America has allowed Student Veterans to have a voice all over the country. They have become huge advocates for Veterans everywhere. Just over the last four their organization has grown immensely and is only growing bigger. They have many programs available for student veterans that allows an easier transition from military service to higher education. I have personally used some of these programs. Without them I may have not completed my degree. This is one of the best organizations out there.
I have been involved with SVA since 2009 when I established a chapter at my university. I've had full support from the organization from the start and they continue to provide a wide array of support services and resources available to student veterans, advisors and the entire higher education community. If I could give more than 5 stars, they would receive them from me.
SVA has been so useful for my transition from the US Army to graduate school. They are consistently on the right side of the issues that most concern veterans, and these issues are ones that can decide how this generation of veterans will contribute to the betterment of our nation. Getting education right is clearly the key first step, and SVA is on it. Also, SVA Internship Assistance afforded me the opportunity to take an unpaid internship with the United Nations and help me transition to my next career.
I have seen SVA doing many great things throughout the year to student veterans even if the school doesnt not have a registered SVA veterans club. They offer many scholarships to student veterans. There is different types. SVA change my life when they accepted me to work with on my fellowship. I got to met so many inspirational veterans who I now call my friend. They give student veteran club to gain what they had in the military which is camaraderie and still serving to do better things.
As a student veteran when I first entered the college environment I felt lost. I was ten years older than my counterparts and no one seemed to understand what I was going through. When I discovered that my school had a small group of veterans that met regularly I knew I had to get involved because at least those veterans could understand what I was going through. After being an active member in the club I eventually became the President. As the President of my college's veteran club I felt it was my responsibility to seek out organizations that help veterans and provide my fellow veterans with the resources to meet any challenge. When I realized there was a national organization that did exactly that I knew we had to become a part of it. After registering my club with the SVA I continued to try and implement ideas that they made us aware of through publications of best practices for student run organizations as well as encouraging everyone I knew to apply for the scholarships or internship support that the SVA provides. The Student Veterans of America has been an invaluable resource ever since and while I turned over leadership to the next generation, they continue to utilize the SVA as best they can.
5 years ago the SVA helped the student veterans of UMaine start a veterans club on campus. It has supported us financially and gave us the tools to keep our club strong. The SVA conferences gave us the opportunity to learn about veteran benefits, concerns, and resources. They understand what it takes to keep the student veterans connected to each other both locally and nationally on a long term scale. My school would not have been able to accomplish all our veteran programs without their support. They personally helped shape my college experience into a positive experience that has brought me further in my education than I could have gone alone.
As an Army veteran of 10 years and someone who has worked with hundreds of organizations supporting our military and veteran community, I have not found a more effective and dedicated non-profit in the country. The Student Veterans of America have grown enormously in a short time because of their unwaivering focus and vitally important mission to support veterans as they pursue higher education. They are constantly working and innovating to improve on their programs and make sure they're meeting veterans' needs at the time when they most need it - as they re-integrate into civilian life and start the process of leading productive, fulfilled lives after their service. They are also one of the few organizations that have truly demonstrated superior ability to work with all partners in and outside the veterans space, from the private sector, non-profits, foundations, and state and federal government.
I am not a veteran myself, but I like to call myself a "civilian supporter" of veterans. Just like you do not have to be female to support breast cancer research, you do not need to be a veteran to support veterans. SVA helps student veterans at both the national and local level. At the national level they help advocate for better services and stronger education benefits, and at the local levels they work with schools to improve services and programs for student veterans. Probably most important, at the individual level they help create school chapters that allow student veterans to come together as a group and support each other as they transition from the military to civilian life. The transition from military to civilian life can be difficult for some veterans, and when you add in the stress of being a college student to that adjustment it can be overwhelming for some. Having other student veterans who experienced similar rough patches helps with the transition. SVA helps create this support network for student veterans. It's an excellent organization.
I cannot put into words the impact SVA has had on my life...I am realizing a dream, honoring the lies of my fallen brethren and becoming the first college graduate in my family - I was scared and doubtful this could happen - the support and guidance of fellow veterans and the programs offered pushed me to new heights and I am now helping others - all of this is because of SVA
SVA is making a tremendous difference in the lives of vets on campuses across America. I am inspired by the organization's commitment to improving the student vet experience and the passion of their community. Their inclusive nature makes sure that all vets and their supporters - regardless of age, branch, gender, career path, etc - can feel connected and part of something powerful.
SVA has completely changed my life and enabled my success. I went to the first DC conference just weeks after coming home from Iraq, and all of my concerns about not having a new community at school evaporated. The peer support, the programs, the ability to conduct advocacy, and all of the great people makes this organization truly outstanding. Going from just a student veteran to a chapter president and now having the privilege to serve as a Board Member has been a remarkable and truly enlightening experience.
The peer support system provided by the early cadrons of SVA members allowed me and countless veterans pave a path to a successful transition. They were the rock upon which we built our academic and professional success. We are now leaders of industry, government, and of our communities. Let me introduce Student Veterans of America, a coalition of student veteran groups on college campuses around the country. Our vision is for all veterans to succeed in higher education, achieve their academic goals, and gain meaningful employment. Our mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. We offer a peer to peer support system across our 500+ chapter affiliates, scholarships, grants, internship support payments, employment opportunities, leadership training, advocacy, and much much more. Given the passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill (which SVA has been credited in helping to pass by its authors – Senator Webb and Hagel), this generation of veterans will become the next greatest generation. We are yesterday's warriors - today's scholars - tomorrow's leaders.
As a member who has now graduated and moved to Alum, I can say I still feel as connected and welcome as I did when I was in college with my local chapter. SVA is continually striving to serve all pre, current, and post veteran college attendees.
I have helped as a consultant to their leadership for a few years, which has given me special insight into their operation. The leadership is tremendous, and they have a detailed, focused strategic plan for serving student veterans through their 600 chapters I've worked with several nonprofits over the years but don't think I've ever seen one improving so many lives with such a small budget. They are exciting, inspirational, and a model for nonprofits of the future.
I've seen SVA grow from its infancy through it current state. What started as a bunch of veterans with a good idea and a lot of passion is now the leader in higher education advocating for veterans. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find another organization better than SVA. This organization drives results and, with a footprint than spans the country, they connect the right people with the right opportunities on a daily basis. I fully support and endorse SVA.
As a chapter leader, SVA provided the network to build our organization. We received financial assistance from SVA to attend their leadership conferences which allowed for us to gain understanding and insight into other student veteran organizations, their activities, and accomplishments. SVA is a great tool for the student veteran organization and the individual. Now, SVA offers Internship support to those student veterans who have an unpaid internship and 3 scholarships worth $10,000 each.
Review from Guidestar
SVA works hard to support all student veterans in nationally. The interesting thing is, they support student veterans regardless of chapter "membership" in the organization. I am not sure everyone understands that. They continue to support veterans in college for long term impacts: education, careers, and general well-being. Good stuff! They far exceed my expectations based on growth in a limited period of time and their ability to operate with limited resources.
Review from Guidestar
Student Veterans of America is a great non-profit whom has made a difference in our group's ongoing dialogue with our university administration. It has served our group of student veterans by providing us with $$ to attend their leadership summit, providing $$ for local events (2/3 requests were funded) and has given us guidance on how to implement change on our campus. The mission of the organization is to connect various student groups and not to "tell" them what to do. Every group is considered independent and allowed to provide a tailored approach to their student veteran population. One thing I love: they have repeatedly stated that the local chapters are the "hub" of this organization and they made several attempts to solidify this statement with scholarships, chapter grants, internships, conferences, and various other resources.
As a result, Ive donated to this organization to allow other student veterans the ability to enact change on their campus. I hope that if you are reading this that you realize how critical of a role SVA has played in the development of me as a student leader. While there may be some opportunities for improvements, SVA is a young organization whom has made significant strides to improve its funding mechanism for greater funds output and increased communications with local chapter members. Given the sheer growth they have experienced, I am quite pleased in the manner by which they've handled themselves and the needs of fellow student veterans.
God bless you SVA and may you continue making a positive impact.
This charity, The Student Veterans of America, does not assist in Veterans Student higher education for the area of Vocational Rehabilitation. Their IRS 990's reflect a scam with little to no funding of the veterans students they allegedly support. If you wan to to support a student veteran, start your own scholarship or give to one that does not censor veterans. This SVA is a front for the Veterans Administration and it could be easily construed as a PR machine for the V.A.
They have refused to work with fellow non-profits such as the National Veterans Art Museum:
Reuters) - Joe Fornelli knows the art of survival.
In 1965, when he was 22, the Chicago native was drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he served in an army helicopter unit.
"So many crazy things happened, people getting killed or wounded or burned," Fornelli said. "You never get over it."
He found solace in art. One time he used instant coffee and water to paint the realities of war.
Fornelli and his fellow veteran artists find themselves in the midst of another battle -- to save their beloved National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, which is struggling.
The museum houses more than 2,000 pieces of art by veterans from World War II to the current conflicts in the Middle East.
"We've got trained artists. We've got self-taught artists. We have people that probably would not even consider themselves artists," said Mike Helbing, 64, a professional artist, Vietnam vet and the museum's chairman.
What is now the National Veterans Art Museum started in 1981 as a traveling exhibit but found a home in 1996 when it bought an abandoned building from Chicago for one dollar.
"It was just a rat hole," said Fornelli, an artist liaison and one of the co-founders.
The building was in Chicago's South Loop, a largely industrial neighborhood then, that museum directors hoped would eventually draw tourists. Instead, it boomed as a residential neighborhood of expensive condos and townhomes.
In 2007 and in dire financial straits, the museum sold the building back to the city using the money to dig out of a financial hole. The building was then sold to the Chicago Park District, and the museum is now a rent-free tenant.
"They hoped things would turn around but did not have a turnaround plan," said Levi Moore, the museum's executive director, who was hired a year ago.
The museum has a use agreement with the park district that expires next April. After that, the museum will have to go. Moore said that leaves less than a year to raise more than $3 million dollars and find a new home. The money would pay to set up shop in a new location and ensure operating costs were covered for several years.
With the country slowly digging out of the economic downturn, the timing could not be worse.
More than 70 percent of museums in the United States reported economic stress, according to an April 2011 report from the American Association of Museums. Ford Bell, the association's president, said small museums are "vulnerable" in a fragile economy because they do not have the endowments of larger museums and have less in reserve.
On the day Dallas resident Robert Cogswell, 44, and his friends visited the museum they had to walk through a bevy of young children in a summer camp hosted by the park district to get to the elevators.
But when they arrived at the third-floor galleries the art moved Cogswell to tears. The images and exhibits connected him to his brother, who was thousands of miles away deployed on his fourth tour of duty in Kuwait.
"There are a lot of soldiers going through this for us, so that we can live the way we live," Cogswell said as he meandered through the rooms.
The work on display ranged from photographs to paintings to sculptures, like Helbing's seven-foot-tall steel and felt piece, which he called a human flame as a tribute to a friend who died when his helicopter went down in Vietnam.
"His name was Greg, I think," said Helbing, who spent 15 months in combat. "I know what he looked like. He had glasses, 6'3', blond-headed ... He was charred like a burned hot dog."
Associate Professor Joseph Troiani, 62, founder of the military psychology program at Chicago's Adler School of Professional Psychology uses the museum, which attracts 4,500 visitors a year, as a training ground for working with vets. Over the years he has taken hundreds of people there.
"It gives them the opportunity to see the expression of war and combat," said Troiani, also a retired Navy commander. For veterans, "it's so much a part of the healing process," he said. "It's very cathartic for vets" either to produce their own art or see the work of others.
Every piece has a story. In the middle of one room laid a statue of a dying Iraqi man waving his hands in the sand. On one wall hung peaceful landscapes created by a Vietnam vet later in his life. And suspended from the second floor ceiling were more than 58,000 hanging dog tags, one for every U.S. casualty of Vietnam.
"That's what brought the artists together, the guys who didn't make it," said Fornelli.
But he said the veterans who did come home and continue to return home, keep the museum relevant and vital.
"We had a guy come in here," recalled Fornelli. "I cry when I think of this. Anyway, he was going to kill himself. He was a Vietnam vet ... He comes in here and looks around and says: 'Jesus Christ I thought I was the only one who felt like this.'
"I don't know of any art collection that has saved someone's life," Fornelli said.
(Editing by Greg McCune and Tim Gaynor)
Don't give to the SVA
Review from Guidestar