Dear Friends and Supporters,
I am pleased to share with you the remarkable journey and successes of our Coaching Into Connection program. Since the program launched, our coaches have connected veterans around Arizona with people, activities, and events that have helped them overcome isolation and social disconnection.
Coaching Into Connection was launched with support from the VA’s Staff Sergeant Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP), which engages community-based organizations to complement the VA’s clinical care. Recently, at a convening of all 80 grantees, the SSG Fox SPGP Director shared two success stories, including one from our Connection Coaching team.
A World War II veteran received services through the Coaching Into Connection program. During the screening process, the connection coach learned that the veteran just wanted to talk with someone in person. The connection coach set up in-person meetings with the veteran and met with him multiple times. After a meeting, the veteran said, “This is exactly what I wanted and needed.” The veteran’s spouse noted that since her husband started talking with the connection coach, she saw a significant improvement in his mental health.
Meanwhile, the Connection Coach was working with another client, a Korean war veteran. They both missed the camaraderie of the military from their generation and that’s when it clicked for the connection coach – “Why not introduce them?” The connection coach did just that. Since one of the veterans could no longer drive, the connection coach arranged transportation and all three of them met for lunch. The lunch was a success, and since then, both veterans have been keeping in touch with one another. They were thankful for the opportunity to connect, and they enjoy talking with each other about “the good old Army days.”
Understanding Military Life: Veterans as Connection Coaches
One of the most unique aspects of the “Coaching Into Connection” program is its heart – our Connection Coaches are veterans themselves. This is a carefully thought out strategy of veterans serving fellow veterans, because after all, who is better equipped to understand the nuances of military life than those who have lived it? Our coaches come from diverse backgrounds and represent the real fabric of our community, residing in Mohave, Maricopa, and Cochise counties and serving the entire state. Their shared experiences in the military create an unparalleled level of empathy and understanding, making them the perfect guides for fellow veterans seeking to overcome loneliness and find meaningful connections.
The impact of the Coaching Into Connection program is best told through the stories of those it has touched. I hope you will continue to read below to hear a few of the authentic stories of people who have been helped out of social isolation through Coaching Into Connection. If you know someone who you think might benefit from this program, we invite you to get started by visiting ConnectVeterans.org/Connection or calling 866-4AZ-VETS.
Thank you for being a part of this journey. Together, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of those who have served our country.
Director, Arizona Coalition for Military Families