Goodwill launches ‘Lutz Buddy Up’ program for veterans, first responders
Program to provide peer support and community building, with goal of overall well-being for those who serve our country and community
“We have heard incredibly positive feedback about Buddy Up clubs in other communities and we knew we wanted to create one here,” said Todd Hughes, program manager for the Veterans Services Program. “As a veteran, I can attest that it’s difficult to talk about what I’ve gone through in combat with people who haven’t been through it; my friendships with other veterans are crucial to getting me through some tough times. Our hope is that this club will provide a place where those who serve our country and community can form bonds that will carry forward for the rest of their lives.” Launched in 2013, Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program was created to help eliminate barriers to employment, provide opportunities for higher-paying positions for veterans and their families, and connect veterans with needed social services.
The overall goal of the program is to help veterans reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs. The program – which is staffed by veterans – provides comprehensive case management and vocational services, while helping veterans navigate the wide array of available social service programs. In response to a troubling upswing in suicides among veterans, Goodwill’s Veterans Task Force – which provides counsel and guidance for the Veterans Services Program – has taken on mental health as a critical item of focus. Creating the Lutz Buddy Up social club is just one way the task force plans to address the mental health needs of the local veteran community.
For more information about Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program or the Lutz Buddy Up club, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721, ext. 451.
PHOTO IDs: 1. Lutz Buddy Up founder Janine ‘Mama’ Lutz (second from right) with Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services Program team members Jeremiah Robinson, Jon Bhatia, program manager Todd Hughes, Janet McBride and Paul Dabule
Retrieved from: https://experiencegoodwill.org/news/2019/05/29/press-releases/goodwill-launches-lutz-buddy-up-program-for-veterans-first-responders/