Boots to Shoes Foundation Programs
BTS fulfills its mission of pairing local community business mentors with veterans transitioning to civilian careers through the following services:
Through informational presentations to military installations' career counselors and veterans' transition classes, BTS offers itself as a veteran resource. BTS hosts tables at veteran career events, explaining the value of a business mentor to hundreds of veterans. Each veteran engaged, regardless of applying for a mentor, receives coaching and career search suggestions and appreciation for their service.
BTS engages volunteers from the civilian business community to be mentors for transitioning veterans. Through a series of talks and presentations at company and professional association meetings, BTS educates the community about the hurdles faced by transitioning veterans and encourages community volunteerism as a way of making a difference. Much time is spent cultivating business contacts to set up these engagement opportunities.
Volunteer mentors make a commitment to attend a 3 hour BTS training session and to serve for a minimum of 6 months. The workshops, small and interactive, train mentors to provide insight into the language of civilian professions, objective discussions of career goals, feedback in the development of a job search plan, a sounding board and checkpoint for progress.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Michelle Obama's "Joining Forces" website creates a path for volunteers to support our troops. It includes a link to our Boots to Shoes Foundation project. Recognition is a mark of success. Boots to Shoes has a reputation in the greater Puget Sound area for serving 21st century veterans. Repeated invitations from local military installations for BTS to participate in veteran resource meetings and to speak at their Transition Assistance Program classes are a further validation. Our success in "Helping 21st Century Veterans Capture 21st Century Jobs" can be seen in the numbers of veterans and community business volunteers we have reached.
We have met with hundreds of military men and women who are transitioning to civilian careers. Listening to them and discussing their goals and job search plans helps provide information and the positive reinforcement they deserve. Over 200 military men and women have applied for a BTS mentor; and we have successfully paired over 100 with a BTS trained mentor.
Boots to Shoes Foundation current needs include funding for the growth of cpmmunity outreach to engage and train more volunteer mentors, table fees for Veteran career fairs where BTS engages veterans, mentor training workshops in King, Pierce and Thurston counties, brochure and website maintenance and updates, and interview practice sessions.