Hampton VA Medical Center
Veteran "X" graduates 1000th Veteran
Veteran “X” and Veteran “Hope” recently graduated its 1000th Veteran from the program at the Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC).
During the March 21 graduation, Veterans explained how they had no hope, no dreams, and no future. Veterans shared stories of homelessness and mental health struggles ~ followed by their determination to create brighter futures. Volunteering, creating websites, embracing faith and building strong families were some of the successes Veterans proudly shared.
The peer-led program is being adopted nationally by the VA and recognized as a VA Best Practice. The innovative program creates a fictitious character named Veteran “X”. Veteran “Hope” is the sister group of Veteran “X” ~ a fictitious female Veteran who has compiled an ongoing scenario attributing to her homeless situation. The characters have a host of problems; many of which contribute to the Veteran’s homelessness. Filing disability claims, securing a photo ID, dealing with longstanding legal issues, and confronting family problems are just some of the scenarios the group addresses.
“The process of identifying solutions to problems teaches the group participants how they can apply lessons learned to their own lives,” said Thomas Pratt, peer counselor at the Hampton VAMC. “Veterans who are on-the-street often perceive their problems as insurmountable. This setting teaches Veterans how to tackle each scenario and then apply the solutions to their own lives.”
The program’s goal is to provide Veterans the tools and confidence to solve their personal challenges. In addition to the group setting, Veterans work one-on-one with case managers who provide them with resources and direction to find solutions to their own personal problems.
“Last year, Veterans “X” and Veteran “Hope” was voted one of the most innovative programs in the VA,” said Pratt. “We are incredibly proud of the program and the Veterans who have graduated.”