Veterans News

Elks use Boost Grants to Lift Veteran Spirits

Each year, Voluntary Service Representatives have the opportunity to apply for a Boost Grant to expand their existing programs or add events they wouldn’t normally host. Last year, a record number of volunteers applied for Boost Grants. Read on to learn about how they used these grants to improve veteran lives.

The White River Junction VA in Vermont recently expanded their Adaptive Sports Program to host community skiing events in addition to their weekly lessons for veterans. As a result of this expansion, more adaptive ski and snowboarding equipment was needed. Voluntary Service Representative, Granville Paine, decided to use a Boost Grant to contribute to this program by providing two stand up outriggers for veterans to use. This equipment gives independence to veterans who have injuries or need assistance with balance.

At right, a veteran demonstrates the new equipment.

Veterans at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Jennings, Louisiana, love ice cream and bingo. Because ice cream socials are so popular, Voluntary Service Representative Brice Palmer decided to host them more often. Resident veterans were delighted with the added opportunities to enjoy ice cream and play bingo together thanks to the Boost Grant.

At left, veterans eat ice cream and get in an extra bingo session.

At the State Veterans Home in Lewiston, Idaho, veterans use therapeutic Mynd VR headsets to experience immersive videos, travelogues, spiritual and relaxation programs. Voluntary Service Representative Judith Wutzke used the Boost Grant as an opportunity to support these experiences with a subscription to the virtual reality service.

Judith reports that staff members at the Veterans Home are trained to assist participants with the system, to help reduce chronic pain, feelings of isolation, and anxiety. Using this service allows veterans to be transported virtually to anywhere in the world while improving their life skills and range of motion.

At right, a veteran models the VR headset.

Elks volunteers are always improving the ways they serve veterans. We look forward to seeing the ideas volunteers have for Boost Grant projects this year. Applications are open now for Voluntary Service Representatives

Please note that Boost Grants are available only to Voluntary Service Representatives for use at their assigned facility. They are not Lodge grants. If you a certified Voluntary Service Representative, click here to access the Boost Grant application, due February 15. (If you not a Representative, you will not be able to access this form.)


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