The Making Veterans Priority (MVP) program within Tennessee serves veterans and their families struggling to cope with chronic lack of income, disabilities, trauma, and substance abuse. AmeriCorps members give veterans in need the tools to rejoin their communities as responsible and productive citizens. To do this, the program assists with home modifications, strengthening family and social networks, and decreasing the risk of the population becoming homeless.
AmeriCorps members have helped 6, 392 Veterans in their communities, far exceeding their original goal of 800. In addition to helping individual veterans, MVP AmeriCorps members hoped to help at least 500 families, and have, thus far, exceeded this goal by assisting 2, 572 families. Members also recruit volunteers to help assist with childcare, mentorship, transition, and special events, and over the course of the program, 1,747 volunteers have logged 22,346 hours of volunteer service.
The secrets of success for this program is two fold: the program director and assistant are both veterans, making this a unique program as they both understand the challenges that veterans face readjusting to civilian life. Secondly, AmeriCorps members bring a great amount of passion to their service and have participated in job fairs, repaired homes for veterans and their families, served food and provided clothing, and served at the Tennessee Veterans Business Association. Due to this, the program has been successful in serving veterans and serves as a good model for other states to implement.
To read more about this program, go to pages 78-79 on Transforming Communities Through Service Publication.