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Nonprofit View: Veterans Services Center soon to have a home

“If you build it, they will come.”

This phrase comes from the 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner. The main focus of the movie is to follow your dreams.

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Our dream has not wavered to create a Veterans Services Center here in Carroll County where veterans and their family members can come for a variety of services, be referred to other community partners for services, and to meet with other veterans and create a sense of family and community.

Our Carroll County Veterans Independence Project (CCVIP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to use the former U.S. Army Reserve Center property located at 404 Malcolm Drive in Westminster.

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For the background information on this issue please go to our website www.carrollcountyvip.org.

On the bright side we now have a location and are moving forward with preparing that space. (It is not yet official and we are not yet in a position to announce where the location is, but we expect to be able to announce it soon.)

The facility and location will preclude providing temporary sheltering and transitional housing. However, we’ll continue to look for a secondary location for meeting veterans housing needs.

Our new location will have the flexibility for our community partners to be co-located with us, as appropriate, and provide services onsite or at their locations.

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We will provide case management for a broad array of services for local veterans and their family members, and offer access to rehabilitative services, such as counseling, life skills training, and others, to facilitate long-term change. The layout enables us to consider having what veterans will remember as a “day room,” a safe comfortable haven to gather and relax, with varied amenities.

Additionally, we’ll have a multi-purpose conference room where veterans can receive education, job training and information on subjects such as applying for veterans benefits, related social security benefits, financial management, pro bono legal services, transportation coordination and rides to appointments, literacy training, volunteering opportunities in the community, mentoring, and job apprenticeships among others.

In the immediate future we will be able to schedule tours of the facility so that all interested parties can see the “before” and, when we’ve finished outfitting the project, the “after” of our Veterans Services Center.

Of course, as a nonprofit, we need wide-spread ongoing community support. We thank all who have provided monetary and in-kind support. We especially ask for your support now as we accelerate our fundraising to provision the facility and begin to hire professional staff. We invite you to participate, in whatever way you can, to create a special place for our veterans.

You can contact us through our website: www.carrollcountyvip.org or call our office at 410-871-1478, ext. 143 at Access Carroll. You may also call direct to Col. Ed Cramer (USA-Ret.), VP, at 443-760-8048.

Capt. Frank Valenti (USA-Ret.) is president of the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it, as our editorial. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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