Coming home should be the easiest part of military service. But for many, the transition is a challenge. Thirty percent of service members develop mental health challenges within 3-4 months of being home; a third of veterans with PTSD do not seek treatment; 9% of the homeless population are veterans. Many returning service members and their families do not know what resources exist for them. The Illinois Warrior to Warrior program was created to bridge the gaps for returning veterans.
This program, created in partnership with the Illinois National Guard, actively recruited and trained volunteer veterans in communication skills and community resources so they could help their peers bridge the gaps between military service and civilian life. We engaged military resources to help both active and non-active service members make the transition. With the common purpose to Leave No Soldier Behind, these team members connected veterans and their families to resources and community organizations that they may not have been familiar with while helping them through whatever immediate problem might be standing in their way.
Major funding for Illinois Warrior to Warrior came from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. In 2017, this initiative was taken on by the Illinois National Guard.