Behind the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program is a simple concept: Military Service is unlike any other human experience. No one knows more about the issues facing a service member – in combat or on the home front – than a fellow service member.
The mission of the Program is to use trained Volunteer Veterans to help military service members and veterans overcome the stigma around asking for help and link those who are facing challenges with appropriate resources that will optimize their quality of life.
The Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program was developed at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Michigan Army National Guard, Michigan State University, faculty from the Veterans Health Administration, and veteran advocates with the goal of addressing the unique challenges facing Citizen Soldiers. These soldiers often deploy multiple times and are isolated from those with whom they served once they return to their home communities. The program recently expanded to include service members and veterans throughout Michigan from all branches of the military and all combat eras.
Since 2009, our program has grown significantly. We now have over 130 trained and active volunteers working in Michigan’s Army National Guard armories, and many communities throughout the entire state. Our volunteers have assisted nearly 5,000 Michigan veterans and service members and spent over 20,000 hours at drill visits and events.
HOW BUDDY-TO-BUDDY WORKS
Buddy-to-Buddy is a free and confidential program that recruits and trains volunteer veterans to provide outreach, support and linkage to resources for service members and veterans in Michigan. Volunteer Veterans provide outreach in their local communities and respond to calls for assistance from any Michigan veteran or those concerned about them. The primary goal is to intervene early, before identified concerns or stressors escalate into crises. For more information about how our program works, please review our FAQ page.
Anyone can contact the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program to seek assistance, make a referral, or to inquire further; however, we are only able to offer resources to military service members, veterans, and their families in Michigan.