Hampshire College Veterans Administration Volunteer Corps

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About the Northampton Veterans Administration Health Care System

The Northampton VAMC provides psychiatric, substance abuse, and PTSD services as well as primary and secondary levels of medical care to a veteran population in western Massachusetts of more than 85,000 men and women. The medical center has 85 psychiatric beds and a 66-bed nursing home care unit located on the Northampton campus, and a 16-bed substance Abuse, Compensated Work Therapy, Transitional Residence located off-campus. Care is also provided at Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Springfield, Greenfield and Pittsfield.

There is an extensive network of residential settings from board and care homes to skilled nursing care. The Northampton VAMC has academic affiliations with schools in dentistry, nursing, psychology, optometry, occupational therapy, social work, pharmacy and other health professional and technical fields, as well as an affiliation for psychiatric residents with the Dartmouth Medical School and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The VAMC is a patient-centered integrated health care organization for veterans providing excellent health care, research, and education. The core values to which its staff commit themselves — Trust, Respect, Excellence, Compassion and Commitment — will guide and inspire the Hampshire volunteer program.

About the Hampshire College VA Volunteer Corps

The aim of this program is to provide Hampshire College students, as well as faculty or staff wishing to participate, with an opportunity to match their skills and interests with the immediate needs and resources of the excellent VA Medical Center located several miles north of the center of Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Hampshire VA Volunteer Corps is well-suited to address the new CEL (Community Engagement and Learning) Requirement, offering students a deeply meaningful and fruitful form of service and learning in their own wider community. Under this requirement students are expected to complete at least 40 hours of service. These 40 hours may represent a sustained commitment focused on one form of service or else may be accumulated through a variety of more limited engagements and services across multiple semesters. The VA Volunteer Corps will offer opportunities for both types of service, one-time and long term, some calling for no more than 4 hours of service and others for a full 40 hours or more. Regardless, the promise is that it will be meaningful service, deeply rewarding and appreciated.

This is how it works: all you have to do is go to: Hampshire College Veterans Administration Volunteer Corps Sign-up There you will find a list of current opportunities representing needs and requests which have been expressed by the VA staff. If any of these match your interests and abilities, sign up in the space available, giving your email address and phone number. The Hampshire coordinator of the program, Bob Meagher, Professor of Humanities in HACU, will get back to you as soon as possible to explore this possibility further. You may also sign up on Hampedia.org to reserve a time to talk with him about your particular interest in the VA Program.

On the same VA Volunteer Corps page cited above (Hampshire College Veterans Administration Volunteer Corps Sign-up) you will be able to write in suggested services or resources that you are interested in offering to the VA, ones that you don’t see represented in their specific requests. The needs of veterans and of the VA are greatly varied and often unpredictable; so if you have skills or talents that you think might contribute to what the VA can veterans, then list them and your name and contact information. The possibilities here are too numerous and varied to list. You may have computer skills or musical talent that you want to share. You may be part of a singing group or theatrical cast or circus that would be willing to offer a free performance. You may have photographs, art, or a film that you would be willing to exhibit or screen.

Every semester there will also be informational meetings at which students can learn more about and discuss this program; so if you want to be informed about those meetings be sure to leave your name and contact information.

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