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Gives a leg up to disabled veterans.

They don't gallop with the wind, but some disabled veterans living at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Fla., are Getting their therapy on horseback under a revolutionary program offered at Quantum Leap Farm. The program has been so successful in helping disabled veterans that it has received a Charitable Service Trust grant for $10,000 to expand.

"Quantum Leap Farm offers therapeutic and recreational horseback riding to mentally and physically challenged adults living at the VA medical center," said Charitable Service Trust Chairman Richard E. Marbes. "A limited number of traumatic brain-injured veterans participate in the program, and the grant will be used to increase and expand the program for veterans."

In the days of the Wild West, cowboys depended on their horses for their lives. Today, veterans at Quantum Leap Farm depend on horses to build better lives. They connect with the horses and are helped by the therapeutic benefits of what's called the "hippotherapy" program for traumatic brain-injured veterans. The therapy provides increased strength, posture, coordination, confidence, cognitive improvement, and great interaction in a social environment.

"The program has been so successful that the VA medical center's chief of recreation therapy is chomping at the bit to expand the program to include veterans with central nervous dysfunction", and cerebrovascular inpatients," said Marbes.

The program saddled up in 2000 to provide services to a limited number of veterans at no cost. The Trust grant will enable it to help some of the nearly 900 veterans who could be served in the program each year.

Other disabled veterans depend on Charitable Service Trust grants to support a roof over their heads, food on the table. and a trail to improving their lives.

A Trust grant of $40.000 is supporting the operations and food programs of the Veteran Hospice Homestead in Fitchburg, Mass.

"The Veteran Hospice Homestead is a specialized convalescent care program which includes a hospice to serve homeless veterans diagnosed with terminal illnesses who can no longer care for themselves," said Marbes. "It provides a mix of supportive services, including housing for homeless veterans, counseling, and assistance in obtaining medical services."

The Trust awarded a $36,250 grant to the St. Petersburg. Fla., VA Regional Office to furnish a new Career Resource Center to help disabled veterans find and maintain jobs. At the center, disabled veterans will have access to a Department of labor job bank to search for suitable employment.

A $30,000 Trust grant was awarded to Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond, Va., to provide lodging and support for veterans and their families facing a medical crisis. It is available to veterans receiving medical care or specialized treatment in eight local hospitals, including the Richmond VA Medical Center. It features a 121-room hotel and has served more than 69,000 individuals since it was established in 1994. Guests and patients who stay at the Hospital Hospitality House contribute $10 per night, based on their ability to pay.

VETSPACE, Inc., of Gainesville, Fla., received a $25.000 Trust grant to help provide food to homeless veterans living in transitional and permanent housing. Through VETSPACE homeless veterans receive housing, resources, and referrals necessary to get a job and to restore them to productive lives. It operates VET PORT, a permanent housing program allowing disabled veterans to live as independently as possible.

A Charitable Service Trust grant for $13,800 was awarded to the Department of Veterans Affairs in Dayton, Ohio, to help provide transportation, Clothing, emergency food, and other necessities to homeless veterans. The VA inpatient and outpatient homeless programs assist veterans in resuming productive lives by offering a variety of services to restore their health and to find a job.

A $10,000 Trust grant is helping to provide homemaker services for low-income elderly veterans who are in poor health and do not qualify for the services through other public programs. Wesley Community Services in Cincinnati, Ohio, helps provide the services that many seniors need in order to remain living at home. Meals, medical transportation, homemaker and house cleaning, and adult day care services are provided.

Two other homeless veterans programs received Trust grants to continue their programs. The Erie United Methodist Alliance in Erie, Pa., received $5,600 to expand its mental health, and drug and alcohol counseling services for homeless veterans. The funds will allow the Alliance to increase the hours for a certified counselor who provides individual and group sessions for homeless veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, social isolation, and substance abuse.

The Iowa Coalition for Housing and the Homeless in Des Moines, Iowa, received a $2,500 grant to provide food, clothing, health screening and medical and dental care to 300 veterans who participated in a local homeless veterans stand down.

"The DAV Charitable Service Trust's partnership with all these organizations ensures essential programs supporting our nation's disabled veterans will continue to perform their outstanding work," said Marbes. "We thank the generosity of those who annually contribute to the DAV Charitable Service Trust, which allows us to support many valuable and important initiatives that assist the men and women who have sacrificed for our nation."

Funds to support the Charitable Service Trust result from the generosity of donors through workplace campaigns like the Combined Federal Campaign, United Way, and other workplace giving programs across the country.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Disabled American Veterans
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Charitable Service Trust donates finances medical facilities serving veterans
Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:888
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