The Gwinnett Veterans Resource Center (GVRC), a signature program of the Gwinnett Coalition, is continuing its mission to support veterans and their families by providing information, referrals, and resources with a renewed passion and a call to engage more community partners in support of local heroes.
Since its founding in 2014, the GVRC has worked to care for veterans and their families in times of crisis, helping them maximize the benefits available to them, connecting them to vital community resources, and offering peer-to-peer support. After years of operating with limited funding and an all-volunteer staff, the Gwinnett Coalition has begun to cast a new vision to elevate the work and impact of the GVRC.
The Coalition is reviewing the GVRC’s strengths and weaknesses, researching best practices from similar programs around the country, and identifying other needed resources. Opportunities include advocacy for affordable housing options to prevent veteran homelessness, expanded partnerships with national organizations, such as the Disabled Veterans of America, and additional access to healthcare providers to address veteran wellness. Expansion possibilities include adding services and staff to offer support groups, social activities, job training, re-entry programs, and more.
“We’re just getting started,” states Gwinnett Coalition President and CEO Renée Byrd-Lewis. “The veterans we serve have sacrificed so much, and they deserve the very best. The Coalition is committed to developing a successful plan that will attract and align resources, strengthen relationships with long-serving partners, and engage new ones to build on our history of caring for veterans and their families.” Foundational to the GVRC’s success through the years is a “veterans-serving-veterans” culture. Veterans have unique experiences, and the Coalition fully intends to continue to cultivate that peer-to-peer service that makes veterans feel at home at the GVRC.
Securing additional funding is crucial to the GVRC’s new plan. Many individuals and organizations have contributed monetary and in-kind donations through the years, but additional public and private funding will be necessary to grow the breadth and depth of services offered to veterans. The Coalition recently received grants from the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation, the Primerica Foundation, and the Gwinnett Stripers Foundation to support these exciting efforts.
“Our service members returning home from Afghanistan remind us of the importance that centers like the GVRC play in supporting our veterans. There are many ways local companies can join us in showing their gratitude for the sacrifices our veterans make,” Byrd-Lewis states. “We welcome everyone to the table to dream big with us.”
Those inspired to support our local heroes and their families are invited to either volunteer or support the GVRC with in-kind and/or financial donations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about specific needs and partnership opportunities.