United Students for Veterans’ Health: Winter Vol.10, No.2,2006 U SV H N ewsletter *********VISIT US at www.usvh.org************ The World of USVH: A Veteran Connection at Santa Clara by Jenevieve Francisco USVH Volunteer Coordinator at SCU Greetings from Santa Clara! My name is Jenevieve Francisco. I am currently a senior majoring in Anthropology and the Volunteer coordinator at the Santa Clara University. In this first installment of a series of articles that aim to introduce USVH on a national level, I would like to tell my fellow USVH volunteers about bit about our chapter at the SCU. It all started just 3 short years ago with Grace Campbell, who is still currently a volunteer. Senior Connection had always been around at Santa Clara University. Through Senior Connection volunteers could visit different retirement homes in the area, but Grace heard about the VA Hospital and thought it would be a great place to volunteer, renaming the program Veteran Connection. The rest as they say is history… Veteran Connection is housed under a larger organization called the Santa Clara Community Action Program. SCCAP’s mission statement is to promote “the holistic education of the volunteer by serving the surrounding community and by reflecting upon social justice issues, with the intent of challenging the participants to commit to creating a more humane and just world.” Under SCCAP there are 19 programs geared towards different issues such as homelessness, social justice, health and disabilities, and education and mentoring. Continued on Page 2 mUsIC, ArTS & fUn! sPEcIAl EvEnTs @ VA by Yun Chu, Special Events Director Winter Quarter special events had a great start with musical performances by Everyday People and Side By Side, two Stanford a cappella groups. While Side By Side sang several classic oldies songs, Everyday People introduced our veterans to new R&B and Motown hits. The following week, we hosted a movie matinee featuring Monsters Inc. to the delight of our veterans, who enjoyed the Pixar animation and the humor of the movie. For Valentine’s Day, we had pre- Above: Veterans and volunteers shared a laugh (or rather, made card-making kits filled with valentine cards, coloring pencils, and laughs) as Stanford Improvisors (SImp) reenacted out their origami paper, so that each volunteer version of the creation of toilet paper. could pick one up from the USVH Student Center to participate in an art-and-crafts event with their veterans. Continued on Page 3 continued on page 4 USVH proudly presents our Volunteers of the Quarter Winter 2006 George Capps & Jessica Stanley I started volunteering with USVH after I initially interviewed with USVH because I hearing about the opportunity from some friends wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of a on the board. Now, just two quarters later, I am marginalized population and because I wanted to completely attached to the veterans I've come to show respect and gratitude to those who had risked know during my weekly visits to the VA. Every their lives in service of this great nation. I did not Wednesday I look forward to the two hours I get realize, however, that USVH would rank among the to spend just hanging out in D-5. The vets I've most rewarding experiences of my life. The special met at the Menlo Park VA Hospital are absolutely relationships that I have cultivated and the fun times amazing people. They have all had incredible that I have had during the past two years will not lives and have unbelievable stories to share; I feel soon be forgotten. Volunteering has given me a taste so lucky to have the opportunity to just sit down of the profound joy to be found in the personal and talk with them every week. I only hope that interaction with those suffering from some of the the vets enjoy our time together as much as I do! most debilitating physical and mental conditions, and I look forward to continuing my relationships with Something about me… the veterans during the coming quarter. Favorite Food- Mexican My favorite colors are purple, blue, and gold, Favorite Color- Red, White and I do not like chocolate. In my spare time, I paint Favorite TV Show- OC, first season historically accurate 19th-century battle scenes. The World, Continued from page 1 The Veteran Connection program is part of the department of health and disabilities and it is easy to see why the VA in Menlo Park was chosen as a place where volunteers can learn more about this population. But beyond that the veterans provide our volunteers with something greater than just education about health and disabilities. Currently there are 8 volunteers from Santa Clara University, ranging in majors from religious studies to ethnic studies to communications. We are a group of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. We come once a week to the hospital and have, in the past, mostly concentrated on personal communication during our visits. In the upcoming quarter I hope that we will be able to take more advantage of the games and activities that the hospital has to offer. I have truly enjoyed my time working with both the veterans and staff at the hospital and will miss them when I graduate this June. I can only hope that for all of our volunteers they will be able to take a piece of this experience with them after college, as I will myself. Learning about Veteran Issues with USVH by Arpeet Shah, Director of Volunteering In an effort to spread the word about veterans’ issues, USVH board members Tamar Berger, Ting Qian, and Jessie Tao started a Student-Initiated Course (SIC) titled, “A Veteran’s Affair: Examining the Social, Economical, and Biomedical Impacts of War.” This course goes through a different aspect of veterans’ issues every week, ranging from the treatment of women veterans to homeless veterans and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I have the pleasure of being enrolled in the class and have enjoyed the guest lecturers, especially the speakers for the homeless unit. For the homeless veterans unit, the class brought in two very interesting speakers, Irvin Goodwin and Dr. Ian Tong. Irvin Goodwin is the director of the Menlo Park Homeless Veteran Rehabilitation Program. What is so amazing about his story is that he originally dropped out of high school, entered the military and, upon returning from service, was homeless for many years. It was only when a person found him at a park in Berkeley and notified him of the VA’s services that he was able to overcome his homelessness and find a job. Now, he runs a rehabilitation center to help other homeless veterans find jobs and homes as well. Our other main speaker that day, Dr. Ian Tong, runs a homeless van that goes around cities to provide healthcare to homeless veterans. Considering the fact that many veterans would have problems getting to places such as hospitals, this is an especially admirable activity. This has been an amazing class and I recommend that, if it is offered next year and you are A Brief National interested in veterans’ affairs, that you strongly consider taking it. Recruitment Update by Jessie Tao, National Recruitment Director *********************************** The National Recruitment Board (NRB) is continuing its efforts to recruit USVH Marching off to students from other universities to start USVH chapters. We are making progress Washington DC towards founding a chapter at SF State and by Tamar Berger the University of Washington, and also hope Considering the current US entanglement, we as to continue to create student interest at Stanford students and future decision makers, should schools on the East Coast. Keep track of ourbe more aware of the issues in veterans affairs: What target universities on the U.S. map at the resources are available for veterans in terms of student center. rehabilitation? What is the VA hospital and is it able We encourage you to get in touch to provide the needed healthcare? Why are so many with a NRB member or me if you have a veterans homeless in comparison to the average population? What physical and psychological traumas friend at another college who is interested in starting a chapter. It will be a rewarding do they face and how does that hinder their daily leadership opportunity towards a meaningful lives? What policies in Congress effect veterans, what cause. So tell your friends about USVH, works, and what needs to be revised? After participating in a quarter-long student-initiated course, relate stories about volunteering, share with them the amazing veterans you visit! nine students will venture to Washington, DC during spring break for a week long service-learning trip. Working directly with Ms. Laura Balun, Director of Voluntary Services at the VA, we will volunteer with a variety of different volunteer organizations to personally experience the wide range of issues covered in the course. Through active volunteering and stimulating discussions with policy makers, students will experience the role our nation's capitol has in shaping veterans' affairs. We hope that all participants will return to Stanford inspired Continued on Page 4 Get to Know Your USVH Board: 2 Profiles Check out our two very indispensable directors – David “Show-me-the-money” Hafhauser and Ting “Get-your-TB-test-done-or-else” Qian! Name: David Hafhauser, Chief Financial Name: Ting Qian, Director of Volunteer Officer Training Class: 2007 Class: 2007 Major: Biological Science Major: Biological Sciences A little something…I started volunteering with A little something… I have been involved with USVH in 2005 as way to give back to people who USVH for three years since. It is a truly have sacrificed so much for this country and the worthwhile experience because of these special principles it stands for. The experience far one-on-one relationships you establish with your exceeded my expectations. I've heard fascinating veterans. These veterans are quite the stories of different countries and times, learned to characters! They are and have been globe trotters, appreciate a Coltrane rift, picked-up and made fighters, flirts, husbands, fathers, chefs, translators, some good friends along the way. It is an entrepreneurs, and more. They have so much to awesome feeling knowing that I can add to the share when you visit. I can tell you a funny story lives of these veterans, and I have a great time about how one patient met his wife and married her whenever I volunteer. the day after. Or how to plant a "tomato-potato." I also became a huge fan of John Coltrane because my veteran often played his favorite Jazz records for me. Others play a mean game of cards, and I "pretend" to lose every time (right...). You see, there's always a lot to learn at the VA--so not only will you as a volunteer enrich your veterans' lives, but they will definitely enrich your life as well. MUSIC, Continued from Page 1 The second event this quarter featuring an invited Stanford performance group was the Stanford Improvisors (SImps), who put on a one hour show full of laughs. Their impromptu technique reminded everyone that humor is always around us. For spring quarter, the largest event will be Art in the Park, where several singing and dancing groups will be invited to perform, and carnival-like refreshments will be served to everyone attending. Other events include a Boardgame & Bingo event and performances by the Stanford Jazz Band. MARCHING, Continued from Page 3 to promote public awareness on campus. When we return, we plan to extend our knowledge to the Stanford community at large by presenting our experience to all undergraduate dormitories. We also plan to document our trip by creating a photo journal for us to present in White Plaza. Finally, we plan to organize a campus-wide event on Memorial Day that will involve a panel of alumni Veterans, current ROTC students, and local VA administrators. ********************************************************************** Can YOU Contribute? Come across any interesting issues related to veterans’ healthcare? Want to contribute and enrich this publication with your own works, poems, drawings and photographs inspired by your veterans? Contact Jess Yee (National Communication Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit your contribution or suggestions to improve this newsletter. Have any questions or suggestions about our special events or volunteering in general? Let us know too! VISIT US at www.usvh.org to find all directors’ contact information and learn more about USVH! OF COURSE!