These days there are many resources available for veterans and service members when it comes to things like buying a home or accessing care, but it's important for members of the community to help them as well.

Staying social, finding a non-service job, getting involved in community and church, as well as securing childcare or school resources are all aspects of a well-rounded life. You can help active and retired service members by providing support in these areas. Share spiritual inspiration from resources like Heartlight and Verse of the Day to provide encouragement to live and work while staying centered spiritually. In addition, here are a few ways you can help the veteran or service member in your life.

Encourage Them

The first step of encouragement is becoming a friend who cares and listens. Veterans and active service members need to be appreciated and valued as a person. Please get to know them. Genuinely care for their hopes, dreams, challenges, family, and interests. Genuine encouragement always begins with empathy and listening.

Working in the Armed Forces provides quite a bit of experience in a variety of areas. This means that teaching can be a great option for those looking for a civilian job. Your service member friend can earn an online teaching degree or certification. Often, all that is required is a set of transcripts, a background check, and a passing grade on an entrance exam to begin teaching. Help them investigate the needed requirements with the school district or specific trade school. If teaching is not their interest, help personally introduce your service member friend to people in the fields of work she or he wants to pursue.

Get Them Involved

A job is a great start, but you can also help by getting them involved in the community. Introduce them to your congregation or invite them to an upcoming church function or ministry project. Include them in your small group. Invite them to your service organization's meetings or projects. Include them in your golf foursome or coffee group. Socializing is essential for mental health, especially in older adults.

Light the Way

You can help active and retired service members!
If the service member in your life is new to the area, they may need help finding local resources and services, such as childcare, restaurants, grocery stores, shopping, medical care, banks, and churches — especially those that offer special benefits for active service members and veterans. You can help by providing a list of stores, daycare centers, and schools in the area. Introduce them a few helpful apps that provide local content, news, discounts, and information on local services and attractions.

Living in a civilian world after being in service can be a tough transition, but with support from their community and friends like you, a service member's life can be much easier to navigate. Find out their immediate needs and rally members of your church and friendship circle to assist your new service member friend.

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