Serving On - veterans serving their communities
A joint initiative between the Rotary Club of Sydney and Soldier On - giving contemporary veterans the skills, opportunities and support to continue to serve through purposeful work and impactful projects helping people and communities.
There are 5000 contemporary veterans in NSW in receipt of DVA benefits. The total number of contemporary veterans in the state is much higher. Despite significant improvements in the range of support services available, many contemporary veterans still struggle to find meaningful work, social connection and purpose after their military service. Veterans can become socially isolated and unable to find ways to connect with and contribute to the community. This can lead to or exacerbate other problems including mental health issues.
Since Soldier On was founded more than 700 veterans and family members have signed up to volunteer. There is regular contact asking about volunteering opportunities. Since its founding in Australia in 1921, Rotarians have developed, managed and volunteered in hundreds of community service projects in their local communities. Rotary is internationally regarded as one of the most effective community service organisations. There are 1,100 Rotary Clubs in Australia made up completely of volunteers. Serving On is informed by the very successful USA organisation ‘The Mission Continues’ which has supported and provided opportunities for thousands of veterans across North America since it was founded 10 years ago. Serving On combines Soldier On knowledge of the needs of contemporary veterans with the organisation, community networks and fundraising support of Rotary Club of Sydney.
Serving On will be piloted in Sydney in 2017-2018, with plans to recruit, train and deploy 100 contemporary veterans on a range of community service projects suited to their skills and capabilities. Selected veteran volunteers will be trained to the roles of project team leaders and will eventually take on the day-to-day planning and management of the projects. During the second half of the year, the model will be refined and documented with evidence based research so that Serving On can become scaleable and sustainable. Future plans will include expanding the volunteer pool, sharing the model with other Rotary Clubs in areas of high density of contemporary veterans, and seeking long term, sustainable funding to support the operating costs of the program.
Some of the objectives of Serving On are:
- Support social connectedness of contemporary veterans who may otherwise face exclusion and loss of social networks;
- Offer the opportunity to contribute to society and community through purposeful work and value adding projects;
- Assist with re-integration and employment opportunities by providing skills and experience while working alongside professionals and community leaders;
- Promote the public image of contemporary veterans as valuable and contributing members of their communities.
How to Support Serving On
During the pilot phase 2017-18 Serving On’s set up, operation and administration will be supported by volunteers and pro bono support from Rotary members and Soldier On. Operating and administration costs for projects, as well as staff costs for specialist skills not available from volunteers, will be funded through Rotary Club of Sydney fundraising and one off donations from friends and supporters. Serving On will be the Rotary Club of Sydney Major Club Project for the year.
You can make a one off donation or commit to regular giving at www.sydneyrotary.com or contact the President of the Club Shane Herbert on 0414 125 294.
We will be seeking a small number of corporate partners to support the longer term development and growth of Serving On. Further information can be provided through Shane Herbert, President of the Rotary Club of Sydney on 0414 125 294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Soldier On
Soldier On’s mission is to achieve the best reintegrated generation of serving and ex-serving men and women in Australia’s history. To achieve this, Soldier On supports those who have served by focusing on their physical and mental health, their family, their community, and their future. 72,000 Australians have served in the Australian Defence Force since 1990, and thousands will be effected by their service, be it physically or psychologically. Soldier On provides a suite of services and access to partner organisations to meet the needs of our wounded so that they can start their journey on their road to recovery. Soldier On supports anyone who has served Australia and their families. This includes those who have served as part of the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Federal Police, and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which includes Australian Border Force. Soldier On has a network of Reintegration and Recover Centres with access to support staff, transition, employment and education programs, psychological assistance, links with local services and a support network of other veterans and families.
Australian Rotary Clubs are part of an international network of business, professional and community leaders who strive to make the world a better place through practical efforts. Through Rotary International, the reward of “paying it forward” unites men and women from different backgrounds, cultures, religious and political beliefs the world over, allowing ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Rotarians provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.
The Rotary Club of Sydney, chartered in 1921, is one of the founding clubs for Rotary in Australia. With over 120 active members, the Rotary Club of Sydney meets every week for fellowship and vocational development. The various committees and project groups within the Club support more than 50 projects in Sydney, Australia, the Pacific and internationally. Our major focus areas include homeless, mental health and wellbeing, youth development, women and children’s health, rural community assistance, indigenous health and education, economic development, and peace through understanding.