From time to time I come across people or businesses on Instagram that catch my eye. Catch A Lift Fund is one such organization. I stumbled across them a few months ago, maybe, and they’ve been burning a hole in the back of my mind since day one. I’d read their web page a few times, watched some videos on “the you tume” (as my office mate calls it), and continued to be intrigued.
Finally, after some time, I got up the courage to fill out their volunteer application. Less than two days later I received an email from their volunteer coordinator asking for a time to set up a phone interview. We carved it out, and BAM! The ball was rolling. I then interviewed with their MAPS coordinator (Motivation, Accountability, Peer Support) and it was decided that I would take on three Veterans in my Squad. I was beyond thrilled! What? What does all of this mean? Lemme ‘splain….
From their about page:
“Founded in memory of Army Cpl. Chris Coffland, Catch A Lift Fund (CAL) enables post 9/11 combat wounded Veterans to regain and maintain their physical and mental health by providing granted gym memberships, fitness programs or in-home gym equipment, anywhere in the United States. If a veteran has an appointed VA certified caregiver, the caregiver is eligible as well.
In addition, CAL’s M.A.P.S. Program ensures success by tracking progress and offers motivation, accountability and peer support through small squads of Veterans who heal together Vet to Vet. CAL Veterans are not only losing weight and moving away from obesity, but also eliminating the need for multiple prescription medications and finding their “new self”. CAL Veterans are thriving, reintegrating, healing and saving each other’s lives through newly established camaraderie; filling the void left after military service. ”
Wounded Veterans apply for a grant, and if awarded, they are given either membership at a gym of their choosing or equipment to use at home. Part of the program requires that they are members of a Squad with a Squad Leader (me!). The leader (me!) is responsible for monthly check-ins to be sure that the Veteran is going to the gym, to help mitigate any concerns at the gym, and to basically give the Veteran another advocate for their care.
I reached out to my three Veterans last night, and two have gotten back to me already. We’ll be in touch this evening and tomorrow. Wanna feel touched? Here’s what they listed as part of their motivation to get into the gym:
“Am excited to start this stage of my life, so that I can live to see my grandchildren.”
“I spent the better part of my adult life in the Army and have successfully completed three tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After being medically separated from the service I feel if when I lost my grip on my personal weight goals. I would like to find myself healthy and able to keep up with my three little ones instead of spending time on the sidelines.”
“I want to get back in shape and start feeling good about myself again. I hope this will help me get off ALL my medications and start setting goals in my life again.”
I really can’t wait to chat with these guys in the next few days and over the course of the next year. If you are looking for ways you can have a positive impact for our wounded Veterans, I strongly encourage you to check out Catch A Lift Fund. (IG=@catchalift_fund FB=https://www.facebook.com/catchaliftfund/)