“Today’s veterans often come home to find that, although they’re willing to die for their country, they’re not sure how to live for it.” Author Sebastain Junger from Tribe
The Ahmanson Foundation has awarded a grant to Leadership Pasadena (LP) to launch a new 6-month Community Leadership Course for Veterans to re-mission our veterans to serve and lead again through community service and civic leadership. LP’s course will be unlike any others currently in place as is not a “crisis” program but instead a strength-based pro-active program for vets ready and willing to serve and lead again—but do not understand how to navigate in the civilian world. It will complement the many great employment, health, housing and education programs offered to vets and allow our veterans to come “all the way home” to the greater Pasadena area. It will also raise up a new generation of leaders for our non-profit and civic organizations and local government to enhance the Pasadena area.
In making this grant, William H. Ahmanson, President of The Ahmanson Foundation stated, “Returning veterans have done their part to support this country. Programs like Leadership Pasadena’s is a an opportunity for civilians to meaningfully say thank you and assist veterans become successful members of society.”
“The Ahmanson Foundation deeply understands the complexity of issues facing our veterans today and sees new approaches to problems that others may not recognize. They truly partner with organizations and want to share the successes and the challenges the non-profit experiences. Their legacy is one of profound social change through decades of insightful grant-making. We are so honored to have earned their support. We will make them very proud of their investment in our program,” according to volunteer Executive Director Cindy Bengtson.
“Veterans have tremendous skills in leadership, technology, operations, crisis management and more plus an inspirational service-driven work ethic that are lost when veterans do not engage in their new civilian community, school or job,” according to LP Veterans Services volunteer Lisa Raggio.
“Not only does the community and workplace suffer when our vets do not lead, but vets forget who they are and what they can do. They do not succeed in the civilian world like they should. It is a needless tragedy for those who risked their lives for us every day. This course is the least we can do for our veteran heroes and the most we can do for our community organizations and our region,” Lisa concluded.
As a US Navy Senior Line Corpsman mentioned, “Leadership Pasadena has been incredibly welcoming of the veteran community. Veterans like to observe before we act hence I was a bit standoffish when I first joined Leadership Pasadena. I didn’t know if I could or would be a part of this community. But I’m slowly but surely getting accustomed the people and processes involved. When I ended my active duty contract, I found myself wondering what I would do with my life besides going to school to finish my degree. In the military, we had objectives, missions, and guidance. When we got out, everything that we knew had changed. We were on our own. It was hard to get accommodated, or transitioned, into the civilian world. We couldn’t relate to the norms of the outside world. Military culture is different from that of the civilian. We couldn’t speak the way we did in the service to most of the people we meet. People think that veterans are crazy and unpredictable. Absolutely not true. We were highly trained and professional. We always carried ourselves to the highest of traditions and those things; I still carry with me today. I always knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world; hence I joined the United States Navy. Although my time serving our country on active duty is over, I wish to make an impact with the community I reside in.”
The LP course will focus on helping the vets understand leadership in the civilian world, business culture and organization savvy in the civilian sector, multi-generational leadership, non-profit Board skills, the corporate landscape and the history, culture, arts and sciences of Pasadena and more.
Leadership Pasadena is a hands-on, community leadership program that provides intensive leadership training and immerses participants in Pasadena’s rich history, government and world renowned organizations and institutions. This is a unique program for those who want to play an active role in Pasadena’s future. A new Community Leadership Course for Veterans will help veterans successfully transition into their post-military, civilian life by serving and leading again through community service leadership.