Here are some frequently asked questions about the Buddy-to-Buddy Program. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact us. Click on one of the categories below to view answers to these common questions.

General Questions Getting Assistance Questions Volunteering Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Does Buddy-to-Buddy offer any direct services to veterans, such as emergency financial assistance, rides to medical appointments, benefit claims review, etc.?
No. The program does not offer any direct services to veterans. We connect service members and veterans in need with Volunteer Veterans, who can identify appropriate resources and refer the soldier or veteran to a point of contact at the resource.

Is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program available anywhere in West Virginia?
No, but will offer assistance in other parts of West Virginia as program develops.

Is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program available only at West Virginia Army National Guard armories?
The program will have volunteers within most WVNG armories and will expand to other sites as the program develops.

Is there a program similar to Buddy-to-Buddy in states other than West Virginia? How can I bring Buddy-to-Buddy to my state?

Yes, the state of Michigan. The program has been successful in Michigan, we are currently working on expanding to other states. For questions regarding starting the program in your state, please email us at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu, and our leadership will be in contact with you.

I would like to have someone from the program speak at an event. Who should I contact?
If your organization is organizing a community or veteran-specific event in West Virginia, we would be happy to have program staff or one of our volunteers set up a Buddy-to-Buddy table or make a presentation. Please contact our Program Manager at buddytobuddywv@prestera.org with more details.

I would like to have some Buddy-to-Buddy brochures and flyers in my office. Who should I contact to obtain some?
Please email us at buddytobuddywv@prestera.org with your contact information and we will be happy to send you Buddy-to-Buddy program materials.




GETTING ASSISTANCE

Is there a fee to get help from the program?
No. The program is completely free.

What can a Volunteer Veteran do for me?
Our Volunteer Veterans are veterans trained in communication skills and local, state, and federal resources available to service members and veterans. They are also knowledgeable about community resources that are not specific to military veterans. Volunteer Veterans can guide you through the difficult process of identifying, reaching out to, and following-up with a resource or service that can remedy your situation. Volunteers are able to direct you to the appropriate resource that will fit your specific needs, as well as provide a listening ear and support you along the way.

What kind of situations can a Volunteer Veteran help me with?
Volunteer Veterans can assist you in finding resources for problems relating to education, employment, finances, benefit claims, legal matters, medical issues, mental health, substance abuse, relationship issues, and any other identified needs.

Do I have to be a National Guard soldier to receive assistance?
No. The program will assist any service member or veteran in West Virginia.

I am a WVNG soldier and want to be connected with a Volunteer Veteran. Will what I say to them get back to my chain of command?
No. What you share with a Volunteer Veteran is completely confidential and your conversation is in no way reported to your chain of command without your permission. The only exceptions are in emergencies such as suicidal or homicidal idealizations and suspected child abuse.

I am a veteran and would like to be connected with a Volunteer Veteran. Do I have to provide my DD214 to receive help from the program? Do I need to have an honorable or other-than-dishonorable discharge in order to receive assistance from the program?
No. The program does not look at any kind of military record for those we assist. We will assist any West Virginia veteran regardless of discharge status.



VOLUNTEERING
I’m not a veteran, can I still volunteer with the program?
We do not currently have volunteer opportunities for non-veterans. We require that all our volunteers be military veterans in order to build trust and connect with the soldiers and veterans they serve on a deeper level.

I’m not a Post-9/11 veteran, can I volunteer with the program?
Yes. As long as you are a veteran of any era, you are eligible to be a Volunteer Veteran. Many of our volunteers are Vietnam, Korea, and Desert Storm-era veterans.

I’m currently in the National Guard, can I volunteer with the program?
This is assessed on a case-by-case basis. If a soldier is in the process of retiring or leaving the Guard, we can definitely work with him/her on becoming a Volunteer Veteran once their transition out of the Guard is completed. If they are not leaving the Guard in the foreseeable future, the program has a tier within the National Guard called Buddy-One, in which soldiers in-unit serve as a first-line contact for soldiers in their unit throughout the deployment cycle. To learn more about the Buddy-One program, contact the Buddy-to-Buddy Program OIC for the Guard, CPT Aaron Hammitt.

I work for a large organization, and we have a group interested in volunteering with the program for Veterans Day/ National Day of Service/ Memorial Day/ etc. Are there any opportunities available?
Unfortunately, we do not have any one-day volunteering opportunities or opportunities for large groups.

I’m a veteran interested in being a Volunteer Veteran. What exactly would I be doing in the program?
As a volunteer, you would be assigned to a National Guard unit and be placed at an armory where you would attend one drill weekend per month with the soldiers of that unit. Volunteer Veterans provide support to the soldiers and information on resources that address their specific needs. Our volunteers participate in weekly support calls with Program Staff and other volunteers, where resources are shared and concerns are discussed. Volunteer Veterans also provide continued support through telephone calls to the soldiers.

How do I apply to be a Volunteer Veteran?
Please apply online through our Application page.

What does the application process entail? How long will it take for me to start volunteering?
Once your application is received, it will be reviewed by our Program Coordinator. Upon completing the review, you will be contacted to schedule an interview to ensure you are a good fit for the program. This process takes approximately 1 week after your application has been reviewed.
The next step would be to complete a one-day/8 hour training session. We strive to conduct at least one training session per month, dependent on the number of applicants selected as Volunteers.
During this training, background check paperwork will be completed for submission. Once submitted, the background check takes approximately two-three weeks to be completed. During this interim, our Program Coordinator will be working with the WV National Guard in order to assign you to an armory.
After a satisfactory background check is received and a unit is assigned, you will be set to start volunteering.
Please be advised that this process may take a month or more from the time your application is submitted, until you actually begin your Volunteer work.

What does the one-day training cover?
In the training, we cover program policies, volunteer roles and responsibilities, what to expect in the armories, communication skills, recognizing potential problems, handling emergencies, using the volunteer website, West Virginia resources, and other useful information for volunteers.

Can I choose the armory where I will be assigned?
We will definitely take any requests and personal preferences into consideration, however, we work with the Guard in order to identify which units and armories are in most need of a volunteer. We also try to assign volunteers to armories that are within 50 miles of their place of residence.

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