The Mission of the Buffalo Veteran Mentor Group (a separate nonprofit organization) is to make certain to the best of our abilities that no one is left behind. Started in January, 2008 in Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo Veteran Mentor Group continues to be recognized as a successful, results-driven and veteran-focused program. The program model has been replicated across the country to support veteran treatment courts. The mentor group is a separate nonprofit organization and driven by volunteers in the community. For more information about the Buffalo Veteran Mentor Group and to meet some of the mentors, please watch this recent video:
We will find them, offer them assistance, assess their needs, and help them solve their problems. We will support the veteran through their readjustment to civilian life, assist the veteran with navigating through the court, treatment, and VA systems, and act as a mentor, advocate and ally.
Often, veterans are more comfortable interacting with other veterans with similar military experiences. One unique component to the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court is emerging as a vital tool for veterans treatment courts (VTC) around the country: volunteer veteran mentors.
Operating under the slogan,"leave no veteran behind," the Buffalo volunteer mentors maintain a very unique role in the courtroom, working directly with VTC participants in a facilitator, advisor, sponsor and supporter role. Mentors meet with participants at every court session and are often in contact between sessions. The mentor program is run by a mentor coordinator and participants come from all branches of the military. Many mentors have been drawn from a number of veterans' service organizations and governmental organizations.
The role of the veteran mentor is to act as a coach, guide, role model, advocate, and a support person for the individual veteran participant with whom he/she is working. Mentors understand the roles of other support team members and “fill the gap” to help keep the participant moving successfully toward completing the VTC program. Additionally, the mentor will be a primary resource and referral provider to the participant by helping connect him/her with benefits, assistance and support services that are community based. The mentor will be a “resource” to the veteran. Access to these support services will help reduce the participant’s stress that can be caused by distractions like housing or family needs, VA benefits, educational assistance, civil legal services, New York State Veterans Benefits and the like.
Right: Judge Russell and Jack O'Connor give award to Kelly O'Connor and Efiia Cares for building and maintaining this website and for their work with Washington DC veterans.
Resources to download below: