It’s November, and that means not only turkeys and Thanksgiving, but also Veteran’s Day and remembrance. In the spirit of combining the two, here are three easy service paths that you can take to show thankfulness and gratitude to the soldiers and veterans living among us.
1. Say Thank you – to the Whole Family
Ok, so it’s no secret that I’m a military wife – which means that, yes, I’m extremely proud of my hubs. But what you might not know is that I was raised by two chemistry professors – which means that growing up did not include thanking the military (there’s a big battle between defense and scientific spending, and you can imagine where my parents came down on that one). So thanking a soldier is a new phenomenon to me – but I’ve learned to appreciate it. We have military friends from other countries that tell us how amazing it is to be thanked by Americans for their military service – and how much it means to them. As an added tip, make sure you turn to the spouse (and kids, if they’re there) and tell them how much you value their sacrifices, too – because military spouses and kids give up their sanity to follow those soldiers around and support their defense of the nation. They get at least half the credit (or in my case, like 80%. Said the humblest woman alive. Ha!)
2. Get a Puppy
Yes this is so random. But it’s huge. There is this amazing organization called Hero Dogs that helps pair soldiers up with trained service dogs to help them with long-term medical disabilities. And they do it for free. Even better? They use their resources wisely by having volunteers – yep, just like you – raise up the puppies. It’s a phenomenal organization, and one that’s passed our screening, so you know that you’ll be making a huge impact. And also, who doesn’t want a sweet little puppy in the house – if only to do as a test run to see if the kids can handle the responsibility?? Read more about getting a hero puppy here, and see all of the volunteer guidelines here.
3. Put together a Homeless Care Kit
Did you know that an estimated 40% of homeless men are veterans?? That means that there are nearly 200,000 homeless veterans each night (you can see more of these statistics here and here). Why such a big proportion? No one knows exactly, but theories abound from PTSD to self-medicating to reintegration into society after being deployed to a war zone. I can tell you, after each of my husband’s four deployments, reintegration was tough. So do something to help these amazing veterans and put together a Homeless Care Kit for them. Want more details and facts, shopping lists, and tutorials on how to do it and what organization to give it to? In honor of Veteran’s Day, we are giving away our Rucks for Rough Riders Project – and this one has a Lesson Plan, too! It’s all there for you in one easy download – and today it’s totally free!
So there you have it, Aina Crew. I hope you have a fantastic Veteran’s Day, and if you see a military fam – hug them for all of us.
GET CONNECTED TO AINA
Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.