Personally, I struggled through transitioning from military service to civilian life mostly because of a lack of mentorship and coaching in the interim. Upon "completing" my transition, I became a leader for the Veteran's Advocacy Network at my company. I decided to reach out to help those that might be facing the same struggles.
Asking around, I was immediately and repetitively told about 4Block, and asked about volunteering for them. I spent a semester as an adjunct professor and have served as a liaison since - and it's been amazing to hear the personal stories of how 4Block has benefited veterans from the past and going into the future. I work with many veterans of the 4Block experience, have taught alongside them, and can attest that their operation is kept lean, efficient, and focused on providing as effective transition support as possible to our nation's military veterans.
Going through Four Block's program is easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. I heard about the program through the Dean of Admissions when I was taking my undergrad at Fordham University and within two weeks of being in school, Four Blocks' founder also reached out to me.
My original thought was the organization was only about gathering veterans together and going to various networking events around New York City, but the reality far exceeded any expectations I had. Each veteran has to go through weekly classes for a couple of months to prepare them for not just the networking events, but the whole job-hunting process. They brought in professionals each week to teach us how to build our resumes, write cover letters, make compelling LinkedIn profiles, conduct ourselves in interviews and, overall, building your personal brand. Then each week, we go to a different company in hopes of connecting with at least one of its employees. The best part about it is that these networking events are specifically tailored to Four Block vets.
I believed in Four Block's mission so much that I decided to do a fellowship with them to help meet recruiting goals and widen the organization's reach. It was the most rewarding 6 months of my post-military life.
Four Block equipped me with the tools and the confidence I needed to succeed after the military. I truly believe that Four Block is 100% responsible in helping me land my current job at the biggest advertising agency group in the world- McCann. Thank you for everything!
After suffering a severe lower back injury that resulted in surgery and a year of recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Chris Vasiliou took on the role of a personal and professional mentor. He was able to help and guide me with the ability to become accepted at Fordham University and introduce me to Four Block in which is a premier nonprofit for assisting veterans like myself attain and accomplish new and never before seen goals. Thank you Chris and Four Block for your great and never ending assistance in the new chapter my of life.
The transition from military service to civilian life is often confusing, troublesome, and riddled with unexpected obstacles. For me, it certainly was--that is, until I was introduced to Chris from FourBlock, who is now my mentor. FourBlock is an outstanding organization that smooths out the rough edges of the shift for veterans, whether they wish to complete their college education, enter the professional world, or both.
The guys at FourBlock are great people who are sincere in their intentions, tirelessly dedicated to their mission, and definitely competent in their craft. Mike and Chris sacrificed their own time to sit down with me for our first meeting and offered a lot of encouragement but also legitimate ideas and concrete actions to help me get started on a positive path to transition. Also, I have introduced several of my buddies to FourBlock when they were dissatisfied with how their transition was going, and positive results began manifesting immediately. The best thing I could do for my friends was introduce them to FourBlock. Most importantly, I have never been left out to dry by these guys. If I don't hit them up every few weeks (at least), they are calling or emailing me. There are a lot of veteran assistance non-profits out there, but I have never seen one like FourBlock. I trust these guys and am grateful to know and work with them.
I was introduced to Four Block shortly after it was founded. Since that time I have served as an instructor, Executive Advisor, and currently as a member of the Board of Directors. Four Block's commitment to student veterans is at the highest level. Four Block founder, Mike Abrams, is probably the strongest advocate for veterans that I know. The organization prepares individual veterans to find internships during and employment after school ends. The strongest testimonials come from the student veterans themselves, who are living proof of the positive results they can achieve with Four Block's help. Corporations, partnerships, and professional organizations have thrown tremendous support to Four Block. They have recognized the value veterans bring to the workforce and want to continue to hire them for that reason. Four Block utilizes best practices and has created many unique and target strategies to help veterans learn job seeking skills that will last them a life time. It has been gratifying for me to work with student veterans. I have never met a more positive and talented group of young men and women. Four Block alumni are growing in size and in their ability to help one another find new roles that permit them to excel in the non-military world.
I was mentored by FourBlock as a US Marine Corps Wounded Warrior at Walter Reed. FourBlock is the only nonprofit to be officially sponsored by the command there. That says a lot. Their mentors follow through and care for you, as long as you commit to them. Their program and services has worked time and time again to help wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and special operators. During my time there, I saw FourBlock help a Medal of Honor recipient navigate his transition/publicity process; a Navy SEAL amputee get into law school; a Sailor with a GED get into Columbia University; and a Marine pursue an Olympic career. As for my own post-surgery rehabilitation, FourBlock helped me build a bigger, better plan for the future; helped me plan my wedding; and now I am successfully employed. Living the dream.