Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer recognition event set for Apr. 13

April 11, 2019

By Pat Maurer

The second annual “Buddy-to-Buddy” Volunteer Recognition Event will be held Saturday (April 13) at the Doherty Hotel in Clare.

The evening will include a welcome by Clare City Manager Ken Hibl; remarks by notable military and veteran community leaders; recognition of the service provided by volunteers; a dinner buffet, gift baskets; and entertainment. The event will also feature a walking tour of the downtown Clare business district.

Buddy-to-Buddy, a volunteer veteran program, is a peer-to-peer program launched in 2009 that offers support and links to resources for Michigan service members and veterans.

It is part of M-SPAN (Military Support Programs and Networks), a group of programs at the University of Michigan Depression Center dedicated to military and Veteran mental health, including innovative approaches to outreach, engagement and reducing stigma.

Buddy-to-Buddy was developed in partnership with the Michigan Army National Guard to meet the unique challenges faced by Citizen Soldiers and Reservists.

It has now been expanded to include all veterans in Michigan who may not know where to find the resources they need or are reluctant to ask for help.
Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veterans are on call throughout Michigan and help address issues ranging from accessing financial, employment, legal, benefit, or education resources to identifying providers for mental health, substance abuse or relationship concerns.

Volunteers have assisted over 5,000 service members and veterans since the program began. The average amount of years volunteers have served with the Buddy-to-Buddy program is 3.1 and the average time volunteers spent in the military is 8.3 years.

The program does not offer any direct services to veterans, but connects service members and veterans who need assistance with one of our Volunteer Veterans who can identify appropriate resources and refer the individual to a point of contact there.

The program has volunteers located across the state of Michigan, in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. To provide assistance, the program connects a service member or veteran who needs assistance with a volunteer who lives close by or, if the soldier is active with the National Guard, with a volunteer who is assigned to their unit/armory.

The program has volunteers at almost all MIARNG armories, as well as other military installations. Volunteers also attend veteran-related community events. Volunteers with special expertise in areas such as law or benefits are another component of our volunteer corps. For questions on where or how you can be in touch, please contact them at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu. to learn more, or call 1-888-822-8339 or send an email to buddytobuddyVVP@umich.edu.

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