About Us

VI 4 Vets, Inc. Overview

The Virgin Islands for Veterans Program is a consumer operated and organized 501(c)(3) nonprofit Public Charity.  Established in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and in operation since May of 2016, VI4Vets was developed by veterans for Service Members, Veterans, and Family members (SMVF).  VI4Vets is dedicated to improving the quality of life and care for veterans living in the US Virgin Islands. 

Based on well-established evidence in peer-to-peer engagement and peer support, VI4Vets is building a community of SMVF where members develop meaningful relationships based on shared experiences and learn from each other that the obstacles they face are not unique and can be overcome.  It is from this foundation of mutual respect and support that VI4Vets supports veterans in becoming more active in their education, employment, healthcare, and other benefits their service as earned them. 

VI4Vets Programs

If you have seen our Facebook or Events pages, it might look like all fun and games, but each of our programs play an essential role in supporting our organization and operations.  Our veteran outreach/fundraising events bring our local SMVF together in social environment to develop friendships naturally in a comfortable setting, raises awareness of our efforts in the community, provides benefits and resource education, and provide some funding for continued operations.  The Patriot Boat Parties, our most popular outreach effort, also affords SMVF an opportunity to develop relationships and share experiences.  These snorkeling excursions are so much more than outreach and recruiting.  SMVF have an opportunity to experience and share in the naturally cathartic beauty and tranquility of “America’s Paradise”. 

The VI4Vets SMVF community upon which we function has allowed for rapid expansion of services we can provide.  These outreach efforts provide VI4Vets with a foundation upon which we have launched both education and employment initiatives.  As we continue to grow and in collaboration with DoL, HHS, SAMHSA, VA and HUD, VI4Vets will expand its’ services to veteran homelessness, healthcare, and other social services. 

Community and SMVF Outreach

VI4Vets’ membership and participation has grown steadily in our early months.  Since our first outreach event in July of 2016, VI4Vets First Annual Art Auction, with only 12 active member participants, we’ve had concerts/fundraisers, snorkel excursion/boat trips to St. John, and beach BBQ, spearfishing tournament and football events.  These events have raised program awareness and grown our active participating member base to more than 30 in less than a year.    Using the latest innovations in digital media and social networking, VI4Vets is followed by more than has reached thousands with notifications on education, employment, healthcare, benefits, and event information.  Additional images available at www.vi4vets.org/events

Education Programs

Education in the Virgin Islands for Veterans Program covers a broad spectrum of services we are working to provide our members.  First, our outreach efforts focus on informing veterans of benefits and services available to them in the US Virgin Islands and beyond.  This effort is facilitated by the peer-to-peer environment we strive to maintain where veterans share their experiences with other veterans. Direct educational efforts on the part of volunteers, also provides our members with one on one counseling on education and benefits. 

Additionally, VI4Vets is coordinating with the VA Vocational Rehabilitation counselor from Puerto Rico to provide qualifying veterans and family members with the training and support they need to secure long-term, sustainable employment.  For service members and veterans currently enrolled at the University of the Virgin Islands we are developing a support program.  These efforts focus primarily on student support, study groups, peer and professional tutoring.  This program is in the early development stages and will grow with the VI4Vets program. 

Finally, as peer support remains central to program development, VI4Vets has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Technical Assistance Team to provide our members with Peer-Support Training (PST).  Peer-Support Training provides our members with the knowledge and access to resources necessary to confidently assist their fellow SMVF.  This program is under development and will mature as the organization and membership grows. 

Employment Program

Education in the Virgin Islands for Veterans Program covers a broad spectrum of services we are working to provide our members.  First, our outreach efforts focus on informing veterans of benefits and services available to them in the US Virgin Islands and beyond.  This effort is facilitated by the peer-to-peer environment we strive to maintain where veterans share their experiences with other veterans. Direct educational efforts on the part of volunteers, also provides our members with one on one counseling on education and benefits. 

Additionally, VI4Vets is coordinating with the VA Vocational Rehabilitation counselor from Puerto Rico to provide qualifying veterans and family members with the training and support they need to secure long-term, sustainable employment.  For service members and veterans currently enrolled at the University of the Virgin Islands we are developing a support program.  These efforts focus primarily on student support, study groups, peer and professional tutoring.  This program is in the early development stages and will grow with the VI4Vets program. 

Jon and Beka Rich

 

 

Executive and Assistant Directors

Jonathan and Rebekah Rich are veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, each with more than a decade of experience with veteran healthcare systems, veteran outreach and counseling, and veteran peer-support.  

Dr. Gould

 

 

Treatments Development Director

Angela Gould, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in St. Thomas, USVI with 39 years of experience.

She practiced here in the mid 80s-90s and moved away until May, 2015 when she’s returned.

She was in private practice in Boulder, CO and was a volunteer at a Hospice there for 17 years

facilitating newly bereaved groups and spouse/partner loss groups. Her speciality is trauma and loss working with individuals, couples, and families utilizing EMDR, Neurofeedback, Brainspotting, and traditional

psychotherapy. Angela’s first professional position was a staff psychologist at the FDR VA

hospital in NY in 1980. Her vibrant energy and professionalism has helped hundreds of people

over the years.

Lexy Barber

 

 

Team Leader - Alpha Team

Lexy Barber retired from the US Army after 27 years of service, taking care of soldiers.  She served her country with honor and selflessness.  Now she is serving her local veteran community with the same passion and dedication.

 

Dianne Rich

 

 

Consulting Social Services Director/

Assistant Director of Hurricane Relief & Recovery

Dianne Rich is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a combat medic, and a two time Purple Heart recipient. She received her Master's degree in Social Work from Tulane University and began her career as a counselor at a private, non-profit organization working with clients who were experiencing first episode psychosis. Dianne is currently volunteering with many local non-profit organizations to improve the lives of veterans and their families.

 

 

Dr. Schwartz

 

Consulting Program Development Director

Dr. Steven Schwartz is an experienced researcher in Life Sciences with a proven track record of funding and publications.  As a behavioral scientist, wide ranging experience in clinical care, program and product development, evaluation with a focus on behavior change.

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