On June 1, 1954, the U.S. Congress officially named November 11 “Veterans Day,” a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Whether veterans served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even in peace time, their sacrifices and willingness to defend their country and countrymen deserve to be honored.
Here at Catholic Charities, we honor and serve our veterans every day through our comprehensive Women Veterans Services. Many veterans struggle when they return to civilian life. Some of the issues veterans face include physical and mental disability; struggles with reintegration; unemployment; and PTSD.
While these struggles affect all veterans, they are especially prevalent in women veterans who may face additional struggles like being single mothers and earning lower wages. So whether it’s helping with housing, providing counseling, or helping to put food on the table, Catholic Charities is there when our women veterans find themselves in difficult situations.
Take Yashika Olgesby a single mother of four, and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Yashika had a difficult and troubled childhood, running away from an abusive home when she was only 15. She joined the Navy after she had her first child as a way to improve herself and better her family’s future. But after her discharge, she had difficulty finding a job and supporting her family. Eventually she and her children became homeless.
While awaiting housing assistance from the VA, Yashika was able to find shelter with Catholic Charities’ short-term housing for veteran women at the Villa Guadalupe. While living at the Villa, Yashika was enrolled in the Pathways to Hope program, receiving child care assistance, career coaching, and career skills building.
“Catholic Charities, being guided by God’s love, empowered me with the tools to pull my family out of poverty.” – Yashika Olgesby
She was able to find employment to support her children and is now attending school to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor. Her drive to help others – apparent in her military service – lives on in her future career path, where she will help other troubled young women to overcome the obstacles in their lives.