Three Wire/VetAdvisor Sponsor 2014 Face of America Ride

World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ April 25-27, 2014 Face of America ride will travel 110 miles from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia to the historic Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Presented by Capital One Bank and sponsored by Three Wire Systems, the Face of America honors the men and women who were wounded or disabled while in service to their nation. Participants include many disabled veterans, along with currently active military and retired military. Active duty service and emergency response men and women also join hundreds of able-bodied citizens who ride together.

It’s not simply a bike ride, it’s one of the largest annual non-competitive bicycle rides in the Washington, D.C. region. With nearly 600 riders, it is an opportunity to share stories and build camaraderie while honoring America’s disabled veterans and the American spirit.

With many returning riders each year, this inspiring event has a limited number of entries. Register today to join our team on April 25.

National Veterans Job Retention Survey FAQ

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and VetAdvisor have launched our national Veterans Job Retention Survey, and we’re hoping all interested veterans will participate. We’ve put together some FAQ to help better understand the reasons why we’ve launched the survey and how participation will help us better serve veterans.

 

  • Where do I take the survey? How long will it be open?

◦      The survey, which can be found at www.retainingvets.org, will be open until we get a statistically significant number of responses. We are hoping to get 5,000 veterans to take the survey.

 

  • What is the target population for the survey?

◦      The target response population for this survey is both current military service members and veterans over the age of 18, so that we can assess both the transition planning of current service members and the experiences of veterans who have already transitioned in finding and maintaining employment after service.

 

  • Do I have to complete the survey in one sitting?

◦      It is recommended that you complete the survey in one sitting, as it is anonymous and the survey won’t record or remember your responses until the end when you submit your answers.

 

  • Are the data confidential?

◦      Yes! All data collected from individuals are confidential and will never be released with any identifying information attached.

 

  • Are the data secure?

◦      Yes! Individuals that submit their information can be assured that the data are secure. Only authorized research personnel have access to the data on the Web-based survey. In addition, a personalized ID and password are needed to access the Web-based survey.

 

  • What if I don’t know an answer to a question?

◦      There are no right or wrong answers, as many of the questions are asking about your personal experience. We just need your honest answers, and please be as accurate as possible.

 

  • What kinds of questions will the Veterans Job Retention Survey ask?

◦      The survey will ask general demographics questions, as well as questions about veteran status, employment status, the number of jobs held after service, industry and job types to compare data across groups of veterans.

 

  • What is job retention? Why does it matter?

◦      With hiring veterans in the national spotlight, it’s important to ensure veterans are able to both find and maintain employment after service. If we can better understand the factors that go into why veterans stay or leave their first job, we can help employers better retain veterans and their unique skills and experiences.

 

  • Why the focus on a veterans’ first job after leaving the military?

◦      Anecdotal evidence indicates that many veterans do not stay long at their first job after separation. We’re interested in gathering data to support (or refute) that evidence, and to better understand the causes that lead to this phenomena.

  • When will the results be available?

◦      The results of the Veteran’s Job Retention Survey will be available by 2014, after the research team completes data analysis and the creation of a research report detailing the results.

 

  • What will we be able to learn from the results?

◦      The results of this survey will provide important insights into the employment experiences of veterans after military service, including how many job they have, which industries they have found long-term employment in, and how long veterans stay at their first jobs after service. These findings have significant implications for the career trajectories of veterans after service and more information on this topic can support the implementation of policies and programs designed to increase veterans’ post-service career success.

 

  • Can I take the survey more than once?

◦      We request that you do not take the survey more than once, as this will negatively impact the accuracy of our study results. In addition, the online data collection software that we use, Qualtrics, will remember your IP address so you should not be able to complete multiple surveys.

 

  • Can I take the survey on a mobile device or tablet?

◦      It is recommended that you complete the survey on a computer, especially since accessing the survey may use part of your data plan if you access it using a mobile device.

 

From War to Entrepreneur: VetAdvisor® Helps Vets Build Businesses

From War to Entrepreneur, a series of workshops to educate veterans on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and starting their own business, began last week. The program, hosted by the St Francis University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), St Francis University Enactus, and VetAdvisor®, will continue through March with four more biweekly sessions.

The first session, led by VetAdvisor® Lead Financial Coach Randy Levander, focused on the basic information for starting a business: writing a business and marketing plan; financing the business; types of business organizational structures (S-Corp, C Corp, LLC, etc.); rules and regulations; and some basic pros and cons of being an entrepreneur.

In attendance were: two Army and two Air Force veterans, all VetAdvisor® coaches who hope to gain knowledge to better assist veteran clients in the future, as well as a current Army veteran and small business owner and his assistant who want to learn more about growing their existing business, and a St. Francis business student and Army veteran who aspires to start his own defense contracting business.

Future workshop sessions include:

  • Writing the Business Plan
  • Marketing Your Business
  • Financial, Legal, Regulatory, and Accounting Issues Facing Your Business
  • Advice, Mentoring, and Insights from Successful Entrepreneurs

At the conclusion of the series, Enactus and SBDC will continue working with program participants to help them move their business concepts into reality. VetAdvisor® coaches are proud to be a part of this important program.

This Is the End, My Friend

by Elinor Warner

Much has happened since I last blogged and yet it also feels as if nothing has happened. I track my cigarettes and I track my cravings, and I’ve kept to the MyQuitCoach program. I am down to five cigarettes a day.

Five cigarettes a day is significantly harder than 10. It’s harder even than eight. It’s so few cigarettes a day that I’ve decided that it’s no longer worth the cravings I have between smokes. It’s so few cigarettes a day that just sitting here writing about it makes me want to go smoke. I have just enough cigarettes left in my pack to finish today’s allowance, and I’ve decided to go cold turkey after that. In other words, the last cigarette I have tonight will be the last cigarette that I have. Or at least that’s the plan.

I can definitively say that I’ve reached the point in my quit plan where the app’s tracking is no longer useful. Five is a number I can track perfectly well on my own, after all. What is now useful is the community section of the app, the social media aspect. When I log a craving in the tracking section I get one of a series of “inspirational” messages: People Who Don’t Smoke Have Better Breath! Smokers Get More Wrinkles! Your Food Will Taste Better Soon! In the midst of a craving the only thing these messages accomplish is making me want to swear.

A month ago I had little interest in the app’s community board, but I’ve discovered that if I go to there and send out a message to the effect that I’m dying here and really want to smoke, at least ten fellow quitters immediately come to my rescue, telling me how they know and understand and how it will get easier and I should just stick with it. In short I no longer need a mobile app, I need coaching in general and a coach who has gone through this in particular.  My willpower is enhanced not through vague promises of what will be but by a recognition that this is hard and that others are going through the same thing.

And willpower is what one really needs to quit smoking, with or without a mobile app. As my experiment in smoking cessation via iPhone comes to an end, I can provide the following conclusions:

  • Tracking and monitoring is incredibly useful. By having a concrete record of the times of day I smoked and craved, I could recognize what behaviors trigger smoking and change things up to make cessation easier. Score one for the app.
  • The app was not proactive, and can easily be lied to. Only the smoker can stop smoking. Score one for the human.
  • If there is such a thing as a residential treatment program for smokers I haven’t heard of it. If I had known of such a thing I’d probably have rather have checked in and done this as part of a group. Overcoming addiction is certainly a personal decision, but working in a group or with a coach would have helped me to stay motivated in a way that an app just can’t. Score another for the human.
  • In the absence of a 12-step group, or of any friends who were also in the process of quitting, the app’s community boards have helped to some extent. Again I’ve had to be proactive in using the boards, no one reaches out to me, but it has been helpful. Score another for the app.

A little over a month ago I began this process by posing the question, “Can a mobile app help you quit smoking?” For me, the answer is yes. The mobile app got me down to five cigarettes a day, enough for me to take it the rest of the way. I have to say, though, that in the end I am the one who helped me quit smoking. And that it’s been hard enough that I truly hope to never go through this again. This weekend, whenever I have a craving (and I will have cravings), I’ll not only tell myself to be strong and that it will all be over shortly, I’ll tell myself that I’ve come to far to go back, and that the pain of quitting should be enough to keep me from ever, ever smoking again.

And with that, I say goodbye to all of you, and to my good friends Marlboro Lights. Thanks for reading and following me on my journey!

My Cheating Heart

By Stephanie Dostal

This is the week I have been dreading since taking on this extremely personal yet publicly-aired endeavor. The week I would have to stop being witty and cute and tell you all that I did awful, terrible things. The time has come, and I write this blog with my head hung low, much like my dog after the meltdown-inducing garbage incident last week.

Along with thanking our military and celebrating the lives and grieving the losses of American heroes, I did what every other American did Memorial Day weekend: I picnicked. Memorial Day weekend is celebrated most importantly to recognize the sacrifice that our military service men and women and veterans give to protect our lives and freedoms. And to those of you who are reading, I thank you. But just like every other fat American I also spent the weekend eating and drinking like a total pig.

Caught In the Act

Looking back at the obscene amount of hot dogs and hamburgers I consumed, combined with a day when my dad literally fried everything he could find, I have no idea who I was while I was consuming these things. I can honestly tell you that at no point did I recognize or even take into consideration the fact that I am supposed to be eating healthy and exercising. My goals were overshadowed by the seductive promises of yard games, swimming pools filled with alcohol, and fattening deliciousness. It was as if the three-day weekend had granted me permission to be another person: almost an out-of-body experience. Unfortunately it was my body that those calories were being poured into. One day I didn’t even wear my Fitbit. I left my faithful and patient friend behind to cheat and be a filthy beer drinking glutton, floating around on my butt all day on an inflatable raft.

I really debated weighing in this week. For those who read weekly, I felt like I owed it to you. You deserve to know what a jerk I was. For me, I knew weighing in could be disastrous to my morale. Should I give myself a week to straighten out and get back on track, or should I satisfy the curiosity of those who are reading? Was admitting the crimes enough punishment? Yes, it was. I don’t think anyone reading wants to see my spirit get crushed any more than it was by the sheer insanity of the lack of responsibility in my eating and exercise. Truth is, I am not going to let three days of bad decisions mess up five weeks of good ones. The continued burning indigestion and bloating from a weekend of bad choices was actually a reminder of how good I had been doing. My body was rejecting these foods and saying, “Enough!  I like the good stuff.” My ever-faithful Fitbit has given me no flack, though I’ve fallen on the Leader Board on my Fitbit online dashboard and failed to track even a morsel of the strawberry shortcake I ate.

Today is a new day. I’ve already picked up the pieces, removed all of the tempting leftovers, and started right back where I left off. Having a bad day or two or three does not mean that everything is ruined. I have used that excuse too many times in the past. Vacations, holidays, birthdays, and bad days will happen. Life doesn’t stop because I have made a lifestyle change. I need to adapt and to plan to be better prepared and more conscious of what I am doing. Special occasions may be a day to indulge a little if you haven’t in a while, but this should never mean totally disregarding your goals and plans. Food tracking and its importance shines again and I move on from my terrible week stronger, wiser, and a little pudgier, but moving on nonetheless.