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How RSF Foundation Grants Support Military Veterans

Today I have hope.” This is one of the best measures of impact that an organization can have. We heard it from a military veteran who participated in a program of the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), an outgrowth of a program funded by a 2014 grant from The Patriots Connection program of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.

I had a heck of a childhood. I was raised in a lot of abusive foster homes. I started drinking and smoking pot at about the age of 14. I’ve gone through programs but never for myself, mostly for my family, especially for my daughter. We’ve had an on-and-off relationship – more off than on.

This is a story of the collaboration and ongoing impact that we aim to support in our grantmaking. In May 2014, the RSF Foundation made a grant of $11,250 to Veterans Village of San Diego through The Patriots Connection (formerly The Patriots Initiative). The grant supported the training of frontline staff at Veterans Village in the ART of Communication, a program presented by the National Conflict Resolution Center.

The staff of Veterans Village has a challenging task in providing a continuum of care with a full range of services for veterans. The ART of Communication program was designed to help frontline staff communicate more effectively with the veterans in the Village and to help them de-escalate anger and frustration when issues would arise.  In June 2014, NCRC conducted four separate trainings for close to 60 staff.

I’ve gone through programs continuously trying to prove to her that I’m ok. The minute I’ve walked out of a program I end up drinking and smoking again. It’s just been hard. I’m at a point now – my daughter hasn’t spoken to me in over six months. She’s now engaged to be married next July 5. I don’t know if she’s going to be speaking to me by then or if I’m going to be able to walk her down the aisle.

The program was so successful that the original investment of the RSF Foundation grant kept on giving. Steve Dinkin, President of NCRC, recently updated us with this news of the ways that lives continue to be changed through their ART of Communication program:

“With the success of the program supported by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, NCRC was able to leverage your funding to receive a contract through the County of San Diego Live Well program to train the veterans, themselves, in communication, life skills, and work-readiness skills.  From September 2014 – December 2014, NCRC provided 7 trainings to 84 veterans.  This was part of a broader project to train homeless, refugees, youth and veterans, the most underserved in our community.”

The way I used to react to conflict was out of anger – you push me, I push back. That’s what we do in our addiction, we push back, we fight. I learned to step aside, let the situation calm down, reevaluate it, and try to come back to it when we’re more calm.

The sessions were fun, interactive, I learned a lot, and I’m using them in my life today. Today I see I have a future. Today I have hope.  View this story and more stories of impact in this NCRC video.