Organizations Partner to Launch Day Program for Veterans with TBI, The Region’s Only Social Day Program for Veterans with TBI

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The Venture Forthe Foundation, Veterans One-stop Center of WNY (VOCWNY) and the WNY Veterans’ Housing Coalition (WNYVHC), today announced a collaboration to develop Operation Independence, the region’s first and only social day program for Veterans with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

The Venture Forthe Foundation, Veterans One-stop Center of WNY (VOCWNY) and the WNY Veterans’ Housing Coalition (WNYVHC), today announced, a collaboration to develop Operation Independence, the region’s first and only social day program for Veterans with a Traumatic Brain Injury. The program, set to launch this July, will provide the men and women returning home with a TBI a safe and supportive social environment to engage with peers and work on recovery. Operation Independence will run Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm at 1125 Main Street in Buffalo, NY. The program is free and open to any Veteran who has suffered a TBI, either in combat or in civilian life.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Venture Forthe Foundation and the Housing Coalition on Operation Independence. It is our belief that community partnerships are essential to providing our veterans with better and more integrated programs and services. Venture Forthe has the needed clinical expertise to run the program, with almost 20 years experience working with individuals with TBI and we are able to connect all the pieces to make the program a reality. The program will enhance our current service offerings and will work closely with our PFC Dwyer Peer Support Program to provide additional peer support for veterans and their families,” said Roger Woodworth, President Veterans One-stop.

Since 2000, nearly 300,000 service members have been diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI has been called the “signature injury” of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the Federal level pilot programs are being launched but here in Western New York our Veterans with TBI have no structured environment where they can go to socialize and gain support from peers.

Operation Independence is that place. The community-based program will provide a social, individualized, and structured environment. Participants work in small groups towards outcomes of their choosing. The focus is on improving daily living skills so the individuals are able to live as independently as possible. Community activities and outings help improve communication, socialization, mobility and transportation skills. More structured activities are offered daily to focus on task competition, money management, and household skills.

“As a veteran and someone who has worked with individuals with TBI for over 25 years, I know the importance socialization and recreational therapies play in recovery. We feel honored to have the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way to our veterans, help them regain their independence and ultimately have a better quality of life,” said John Dziewit, Venture Forthe Inc.

Operation Independence is accepting applications for veterans interested in participating in the program, which is set to launch July 2014. In addition, we are open to discussing new ideas for the program and welcome individuals and organizations interested in getting involved with or supporting Operation Independence. For more information or contact Nichole Salva, Communications Director 716-285-8102 or Roger Woodworth, VOCWNY 716-898-0110 ext 106.

About the Partners

Venture Forthe Foundation

The Venture Forthe Foundation is dedicated to support our veterans who return home from combat with a traumatic brain injury and help them live a more independent and higher quality life. The Foundation was started by Jean Dziewit to honor her husband and give back to local veterans in need.

Venture Forthe Inc, a private licensed home care services agency, was founded in 1997 by John and Jean Dziewit. John served in the United States Marine Corp from 1969 - 1971 and was honorably discharged by the USMC after serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. John is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, Certified Dementia Practitioner and Trainer, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Venture Forthe provides care through the NYS TBI Waiver to an under served population of individuals with a Traumatic Brain Injury. The business started with just a few clients and has grown to become the leading home care provider for individuals with a TBI; delivering a range of professional and paraprofessional services. Venture Forthe currently operates two social days programs, provides services for over 500 individuals in WNY. Venture Forthe is headquartered in Niagara Falls, with offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Jamestown, Belmont, Olean, and the Finger Lakes. For more information:

Veterans One-stop Center of WNY

Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York, Inc. (“VOC of WNY”), WNY’s premier, community-based, independent, nonprofit collaborative, offering U.S. veterans, service members, and their families, the convenience of a barrier-free One-stop Center in which to access a coordinated, individualized suite of services for veterans.

The VOC of WNY operates on the principle that services are provided by existing, independent Service Providers working together in a coordinated way to provide a seamless program that assists Veterans and their families in dealing with the various challenges they encounter. We provide a tailored community-based plan that leads to the successful achievement of their goals, realization of their full potential, and reintegration into our community. For more information:

Veterans Housing Coalition of WNY

WNY Veterans Housing Coalition, Inc. (WNYVHC) was founded in 1987 to provide housing for homeless Veterans and Veterans with special needs. Since then the organization has expanded its focus by developing and managing residential housing for “low income” persons, severely disabled, homeless, and other persons who have “special needs”. Our main focus has been and always will be Veterans first.

What separates us from other property development and management organizations is the “continuum of care” component that provides case management services. The focus is on creative problem solving; and homeless prevention and referring them to agencies that can meet their needs. WNYVHC is at the forefront of setting a national trend in providing Special Needs housing for Veterans while addressing the complex factors and issues facing Veterans today.

Celebrating our 25th year in 2012, WNYVHC has assisted well over 15,000 Veterans with housing, case management, homeless prevention, employment and referrals. For more information:

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Nichole Salva

Roger Woodworth
Venture Forthe Inc.
since: 11/2010
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