Our Vision is to embed community developed services that provide 100% care for service Members and their families throughout our counties by establishing a network of certified services, volunteer Veterans and certified Veteran Peer Support Specialists.
Our mission is to connect Service Members and their families with each other and to the resources and benefits, they earned and deserve, free and confidentially regardless of discharge status. Through our professionally trained Veteran Peer Specialists, we provide “help from those who’ve been there” for support services, counseling, program resources, and a sense of hope and purpose.
The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation is a 501c (3) non-profit organization founded in 2012. Originally a Department of Health and Human Services grant, today we are 100% funded by private donations which means we need your help to serve those in our Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha Counties who have served, sacrificed, and continue to struggle emotionally, financially and vocationally Through our professionally trained Veteran Peer Specialists, we provide “Help from Those Who’ve Been There” for support services, counseling, program resources, and a sense of hope and purpose.
Peer support is an essential component for our success. Those who have been there are the ones who can truly understand and guide someone through recovery from the impact of their military experiences.
A Community of Care
Community support is not bound by legal or traditional military restrictions. When issues emerge that affect our target consumer, we will engage all those affected.
Volunteerism and Employment
Our primary goal prior to, during, and after deployment is to keep families intact, engaged, and flourishing. We acknowledge support persons as a part of the family to be included in the process.
All interventions will be confidential, and any discussion or dissemination of information associated with the interaction of our programs or partners will be consumer-controlled.
Suicide and Homeless Prevention
Our support of programs that thwart suicide and homelessness is grounded in the value of developing the individual’s hope that things can get and stay better.
We will support programs that recruit, train, and certify the next generation of trauma-informed providers of our transformational care.
Major Resource Partners
The Very Latest from LCVFSF
Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more likely.
For years the number 22 represented the number of veterans committing suicide every day.
In fact, the total number of suicides among veterans has increased four of the last five years on record. From 2007 to 2017, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped almost 50 percent.
“The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation is guided and staffed by Veterans who have been there. “
Now and over the coming years, many Veterans, military members, and their families will go through a transition to the civilian world. Many will need support and guidance. Warrior training makes it difficult for them to reach out for help. We want to make it easier and safer by providing support guided and provided by those who’ve been there.
How You Can Help
Our services are 100% free to service members and families and we rely 100% on private donations to provide them.
Our most significant community awareness and fundraising event is the annual Lake County Ruck March.
This year, Lake County Veterans and Families need our help more than ever, and this year, we are seeking as many members of the community as possible to register for what is now a self-motivated 22-day challenge. Every registrant is then encouraged to raise donations to support their participation and thus, to fund our critical care programs and services for the year ahead.
Those We Have Helped
Angela O. called HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing) seeking housing help. The agency recommended contacting Lake County Veterans and Family Service Foundation. She called and spoke with Veteran Peer Specialist Juan Mendez.
“I spoke to Juan about our family’s need for help with food and gas,” Angela said. The foundation provided emergency assistance for the family’s basic needs and referred the Veteran to a local Veteran Service Officer to assist with her VA claim appeal.
Angela said that Juan calls her regularly to ask how she’s doing. He’s currently helping her find housing that’s more accessible for her wheelchair. “He’s just been fantastic,” Angela said.
When Gil K. thinks back fifty years ago, he remembers the daily risks he took with the 9th Marines, engaging the North Vietnamese Army in and around Khe Sanh.
He’s lucky to have come home, Gil says. He carries those memories with him, along with many physical and psychological challenges that he has dealt with all of his life since returning to the United States.
The risks Gil takes on today are very different from those fifty years ago. Confined both to a wheelchair and his room in a care facility, Gil confronts isolation and loneliness every day, all day. Covid has only made those challenges more difficult.
“One thing that really helps is getting phone calls,” Gil said. “A couple of guys from the foundation have been good about calling me and asking how I’m doing. I appreciate that. It’s comforting to know that people care.”
LCVFSF is all about connecting. Sometimes a face-to-face conversation. Sometimes a phone call. Once a connection is made, other good things can happen.
Patty learned about the foundation nearly three years ago when she and her husband were seeking help for their son Dean who was struggling with PTSD.
“I was looking for help for Dean, but also for us as caregivers” Patty explained. “The foundation has the name “family” in its title. It came up when I did a search. We got immediate and effective help at a critical time for our family. We learned that we weren’t alone.”
Patty and Kevin attended Service Connections, a meeting of other caregivers sharing what was going on, what was working and what wasn’t. “I learned that you don’t ‘get over’ PTSD,” she said. “You don’t fix it. You learn how to live with it.”
As her family began to heal, Patty looked for ways to “give back”, so she joined the Board.
THE 2019 ANNUAL REPORT
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