OMAHA, NE -- 'What Can We Do for Our Homeless Veterans?' Omaha Burke JROTC Cadets decided to give back this Thanksgiving.
Cadet Battalion Commander Susie Valderrábano has been planning with her staff for the past quarter as part of their service-learning project for this school year. Service learning is an active and experiential learning strategy where students have a direct impact on an identified need in the community. After finding out that Victory II Apartments recently opened its doors in September of this year for homeless veterans, the corps of cadets went into action.
They reached out to Tom York, the property manager of Victory Apartments. He explained that the building, formerly home to part of Grace University, was renovated into 60 studio and one-bedroom apartments for homeless and at-risk veterans. The facility hosts also a community gathering area, laundry facilities, a gymnasium, and a fitness center.
The housing for homeless veterans is badly needed. There are 140 people on a waiting list and an estimated 600 in the metro area.
“It’s painful to tell a veteran it’s a long wait list, and when they ask how long, to say, well, um, two years,” said Mr. York, property manager of Victory Apartments.
He says veterans who live in these complexes not only have a roof over their heads, but they also have access to on-site services like counseling, health and wellness, and job training.
He is grateful that the students took time this past Wednesday to drop off the Thanksgiving meal and to volunteer their time. Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.
He is excited to partner with Lt. Col Kevin Bricker and Sergeant Major John Guhl, the Army Instructors at Burke High School. In December, the Corps of Cadets will be conducting a coat, hat, and glove drive for the Victory Apartments. Dropoff will be at Burke High school Nov 31-Dec 11, 2020.