Project Rebirth’s Military Veteran Support Model
An innovative program for veterans combining adventure, service, and education
Project Rebirth uses its unique film content to create scalable programs and teaching tools that facilitate healing, foster hope and build resilience for first responders, military veterans, educators and community leaders.
Project Rebirth’s Project Cohort creates an effective, efficient and versatile peer-led support program for veterans transitioning to civilian life. The Cohort model combines service projects, outdoor adventures and other experiential learning activities with ongoing health and wellness education. The goal is to create communities of veterans that support each member's efforts to build on their strengths and overcome challenges. Project Cohort is grounded in the belief that providing support that is ongoing and based where veterans live, study, and work will be the most effective way to positive and lasting improvement in their lives.
There are currently six active Cohorts – four on college campuses, a “Street Cohort” in a non-campus community setting and the Veteran’s Film Academy, a collaboration with the Sarasota Film Festival in which a team of veterans will both learn documentary film making and face the deadline of showing their film at the 2017 festival. There are thirty veterans currently field testing the Project Cohort model - their feedback is helping to refine and improve the program. By Spring 2017 we expect to have the final Project Cohort model that delivers program content in the most convenient and effective way to Cohort members.
Cohorts that operate on college campuses are established and led by a Peer Support Leader, a fellow veteran who works with their school's administration to recruit Cohort participants, organize activities, community service projects, and lead ongoing group sessions. Non-University based Cohorts models have been founded around shared interests and professional development programs. An outdoor adventure, professional development challenge, or service activity helps the Cohort members form bonds of friendship, trust and mutual support. Cohorts continue to meet monthly, in person and/or online. These meetings serve to normalize and inform discussions about recognizing strengths and addressing challenges faced by veterans in civilian life. Project Rebirth's documentary films serve as a unique and effective way to examine the different processes of building resilience after loss, grief and trauma.
In collaboration with Georgetown University, Rebirth plans to conduct a research study evaluating the impact of the Project Cohort model. Project Rebirth’s long-term goal is to build the evidence base for the efficacy of the Project Cohort model and then disseminate the model to peer organizations nationwide.
Project Cohort will provide an adaptable and scalable model for creating ongoing supportive communities of veterans that work together to face their challenges and reach their goals. We will freely share the Project Cohort model with any organization that shares our mission. The result will be healthier and more resilient veterans whose unique strengths can be harnessed for the benefit of their families, communities and places of work.
FROM OUR COHORT VETERANS
"I got some much needed group therapy with my Veterans group Project Cohort. Don't know what I would do without these guys!" -Christopher Harvey, Austin Cohort
"In Project Cohort I found the two things that I needed. I found others that were like me and others that have had similar issues and experiences and have worked through them and are continuing to work on them, and here were people like me that didn’t hate society, that weren’t always angry but were truly happy." -Troy Bunch, Iowa State Cohort
“We’re Veterans – you give us a job to do, we’re going to get it done.”-Sarasota Film Festival, Cohort Veterans Film Academy team member
"I would not have this new spark on life without the help, and being part of this cohort program." -Jeremy Kennard, Texas State Cohort