Funding to Provide WCC’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery Training Program to Veterans in Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOYDS, Maryland – Warrior Canine Connection (WCC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $125,000 in grant funding from the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The funding will enable WCC to provide its Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) service dog training program to more Virginia Veterans through the Rappahannock Regional Veterans Docket at the Spotsylvania Circuit Court, Fort Belvoir and in partnership with fellow area nonprofit organizations.
The funding will enable WCC to engage Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the critical mission of helping to train future service dogs for fellow Veterans through its MBTR training program for a 12-month period. By participating in the program, Veterans can receive therapeutic benefits that research has shown reduces symptoms of PTSD and improves mental health.
“We are deeply grateful to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Services Program (SOS) for its generous grant funding, which will significantly bolster our efforts to provide programming and support for Veterans in the state,” said Rick Yount, executive director and founder, Warrior Canine Connection. “This invaluable support enables us to expand our MBTR programming and resources, ensuring that these Warriors can benefit from the healing power of human-animal bond.”
In addition, grant funds will also support the placement of up to two WCC trained facility dogs at long-term, skilled nursing care facilities for Veterans. WCC facility dogs have the potential to impact the mental health of hundreds of Virginia Veterans.
“The purpose of this award issued by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services is for the provision of comprehensive suicide prevention and opioid addiction services for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Angela Porter, PhD., CSOTP, Director of Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addictions Services for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. “The Virginia Department of Veterans Services – SOS Program aims to enhance understanding of suicide prevention and opioid addiction among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) and build community support capacity to ensure the RIGHT HELP is widely available RIGHT NOW to military-connected citizens and families.”
WCC’s MBTR training model is the foundation upon which Department of Defense (DoD) Animal Assisted Therapy programs have been built, and it also inspired passage of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act in 2021. This important legislation calls for the U.D. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to replicate WCC’s MBTR program at five pilot sites across the country. The organization has collaborated on that implementation and currently serves as the nonprofit service partner at two of the five VA hospital sites. Veterans participating in the MBTR program frequently report a decrease in isolative behaviors, decreased levels of anxiety, improved quality of sleep, reduced level of stigma, increased sense of purpose, improvement in family relationships, reduced hypervigilance and improved communications skills.
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