FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2021
Silver Spring, MD — Just in time for Veterans Day 2021, three area veterans in need of transportation received their own cars, thanks to the efforts of Easterseals DC MD VA, Vehicles for Change, and the Heritage/MileOne Autogroup.
All three veterans — Chante Kiley-Washington, Jasmine Roland, and Kenneth Thomas — were enrolled in Easterseals’ Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP). Committed to helping homeless veterans find and maintain long-term employment, HVRP recognizes the critical role that reliable, accessible transportation plays in helping their clients have successful careers. As a result, staff worked with partners at Vehicles for Change to nominate the veterans to receive a refurbished pre-owned car, and their compelling stories put them on the list of recipients.
Each of the veterans has overcome challenging circumstances since leaving the military. Take Jasmine, who is an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving the military, she was temporarily homeless after experiencing domestic violence and caring for her daughter. But she battled back to earn her associate’s degree this year and is continuing with college to earn her bachelor’s, with an eye toward a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. Still, every day is dominated by relying on others for transportation, long rides on public buses, and little time for relaxing dinners as a family.
“I’m working to provide a life worth living for my daughter,” Jasmine said, and “a vehicle helps out a lot. I travel across town every morning to get my daughter to school and then head in the opposite direction to get on campus on time myself.”
After receiving her car, Jasmine talked about the way it will make life better for her and her daughter. “This is more than saving my time. It’s saving my sanity.”
For Chante, who enlisted in the Army as a communications installer, her focus has always been on family, from caring for her daughter as a single mother, to helping her own mother care for her four siblings. Now, with her own children grown, Chante cares for her sister’s three young children. Relying on public transportation to take them to and from school and after-school activities not only cost Chante a job because of the strain on her schedule, but it leaves her concerned about exposing them to COVID.
“The 8-year-old twins and the 6-year-old can’t be vaccinated yet,” she said. “This car is a safe haven for them. It’s a blessing on so many levels.”
Kenneth Thomas worked in corrections and pre-trial services for over 17 years and is currently a case manager with New Vision House of Hope’s veteran housing program. Kenneth is also an addiction counselor and has worked with the Easterseals HVRP program by offering referrals and counseling for veterans in and around Baltimore. Committed to serving the veterans who come into the program, Kenneth is himself a veteran and plays a key role in supporting the HVRP employment mission.
When asked how his new vehicle will change his life, Kenneth focused attention on those he’ll be able to serve better, saying simply, “This car will allow me to assist more veterans.”
Easterseals’ Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Program provide supportive services to eligible veterans in Washington, DC, nine Maryland counties, and five counties in northern Virginia. Easterseals also offers the Veterans Staffing Network, which supports veterans and their spouses with job search assistance, counseling, and vocational guidance and training. Find out more about Easterseals’ programs for veterans on the Easterseals DC MD VA website or email email@example.com.
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