Volunteer spotlight: IUPUI students gather thousands of items for homeless veterans

IUPUI graduate students Adriene Tynes and Erin Braun visited HVAF of Indiana, Inc. on a cold evening that left them thinking about veterans without coats, gloves or sweaters. They then learned  that up to 500 homeless military veterans were living on the streets of Indianapolis, they decided they had to do something. In 2011, they held their first food and clothing drive, titled "Meat & Heat Drive" under the auspices of the IUPUI Public Affairs Student Association, netted 750 items.


They wanted to do more in 2012 and set forth with a lofty goal. Find out how the two made a big difference in the lives of homeless veterans at HVAF. Read the full story here:

Special thanks to the 2012 participating organizations:
1. Indiana University Public Policy Institute 2. Fred Astaire Dance Studio North 3. Indiana University McKinney School of Law 4. IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning 5. IUPUI SPEA Public Affairs Student Association 7. School of Public and Environmental Affairs 8. Occupational & Physical Therapy Club 9. IUPUI Student Veterans 10. American Legion Student Post 360 11. IUSM Internal Medicine Residency Program 12. Bepko Learning Center 13. IUPUI University Library 14. Office of Intramural and Recreational Sports -- Natatorium 15. Elmore's Firearms & Accessories 16. IUPUI School of Nursing 17. IUPUI School of Education 18. University Place Conference Center & Hotel 19. Crowne Plaza Union Station


Five veterans graduate from HVAF's recovery program

On Wednesday, five veterans graduated from HVAF's Residential, Employment, Substance, Abuse, Treatment program, known as REST. The veterans were greeted by several peers and alumni who praised their accomplishments. Army veteran Zach Day who hiked the Appalachian Trail, one of the toughest hiking trails in the world, to raise awareness for homeless veterans, was also on hand to support the veterans. Each veteran received a certificate of completion from the recovery program.

In their own words, the veterans reflect on what the program has meant to them.

Entered the HVAF recovery program on February 29, 2012

“HVAF gave me focus and it gave me hope that I could have a better life,” says Tonny. “I knew I wanted to change my life and I needed time to focus on me. HVAF’s recovery program gave me the tools to become self-sufficient.”

Entered the HVAF recovery program on March 26, 2012

"It's been a great experience for me to get the help I needed at HVAF. Zach Day, was an inspiration. When I leave I feel like I can accomplish anything."

Entered the HVAF recovery program on February 23, 2012

"Entering HVAF's recovery program helped me a lot with my addictions. I've been clean and sober for 10 months and am looking for an apartment."

Entered the HVAF recovery program on April 23, 2012

"The realization that I don't know everything hit me hard when I came to HVAF and it was a learning process I had to go through but HVAF staff has guided me every step of the way. I'm forever grateful."

Ross, not pictured, entered the HVAF recovery program on February 10, 2012. Ross is now working at UPS.