A key component of the Community Engagement mission area involves IVMF’s efforts to support our communities with impactful technical assistance and advice to better serve their veterans and military families. We strive to be a credible presence in our communities by lending our expertise and providing access to resources to help create and sustain the capacity needed to address their veterans’ needs.
Defined broadly, communities themselves can range from colleges and universities to employers, to nonprofit providers and towns, villages and cities. All of it and each of it is important in the eyes of veterans and military families. Our goal is to see a community’s resources delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible to those who served their country. Our work seeks to align the individual strengths of community-based resources to serve holistically. In so doing we stand the best chance of matching individual need with individualized resources.
Communities represent the next frontier in serving veterans and military families. By adding value to a community’s ability to serve its veterans and military families we serve them where they live, work and play. Importantly, our partners in government recognize the increased value being presented by communities and are investing in them to position resources to help achieve better outcomes for veterans and military families.
Our work challenges traditional models that have served the nation’s veterans by stitching together their proud past with an innovative future, combining the promise of both by more commonly serving together in communities of practice small and large.
Take a look at our Community Advisement in Action on our Branch Out, SSVFs website
Kiron R. Dawkins
Hudson Valley Regional Director | Westchester Community Opportunity Program
Kiron R. Dawkins is the Hudson Valley Regional Director of the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP) and stands at the forefront of the rapidly changing non-profit industry through services innovation. WestCOP is a private not-for-profit, multipurpose social service agency that for the last 50 years, has worked to combat poverty and its adverse effects throughout the Hudson Valley. WestCOP serves approximately 30,000 individuals each year with an extensive menu of supportive services and regularly collaborate, refer, plan and train with many of the more than 600 social service agencies operating in the Hudson Valley Region.
Mr. Dawkins developed and manages the largest Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families Program (SSVF) in the Hudson Valley region and has brought in nearly six million dollars in the last four years to combat Veteran homelessness through this program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of New Rochelle with a concentration in Communications. He has a certification in Trauma Response and Crisis Intervention from Rutgers University, a Certificate in Leading Strategic Innovations in Organizations from Vanderbilt University, and a Master Certification in Project Leadership and Systems Design from the School of Engineering at Cornell University.
As a member of the New York and New England SSVF Community of Practice (CoP) that is facilitated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, Mr. Dawkins and WestCop applauds the IVMF for events such as the Leaders Huddle, which brings decision makers together concerning best practices on helping our Veterans and their families. In addition, their efforts in staff development have helped to increase staff aptitudes and productivity. By far, the most valuable expression of SSVF CoP is the ability to be able to pick up the phone and plug in with them at any time, for any reason, for assistance.
WestCOP was proud to be one of the first recipients of the Innovation Collaboration Excellence (ICE) award through IVMF’s SSVF CoP competition as well as being recognized through the George Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative for best practices in the Veteran’s non-profit services space. We believe whole-heartedly that our partnership with IVMF and the SSVF CoP has showed a valuable return and growth for us and our ability to serve our Veteran population.
“We are proud to be one of the first recipients of the Innovation Collaboration Excellence (ICE) award through IVMF’s SSVF CoP competition as well as being recognized through the George Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative for best practices in the Veteran’s non-profit services space. We believe whole-heartedly that our partnership with IVMF and the SSVF CoP has showed a valuable return and growth for us and our ability to serve our Veteran population.”
-Kiron R. Dawkins is the Hudson Valley Regional Director of the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WestCOP) which serves approximately 30,000 individuals each year with an extensive menu of supportive services and regularly collaborate, refer, plan and train with many of the more than 600 social service agencies operating in the Hudson Valley Region.
SSVF Program Manager | Veterans Outreach Center | Buffalo, NY
As a Program Manager for an SSVF grantee in the Community of Practice, I am sincerely grateful to the IVMF for awarding us with the ICE award in 2014. Seeing my hard working staff recognized at this level was a great experience and something that was well deserved. To be recognized as the “best in class” for the entire State of NY is very proud moment for us and we truly appreciate it.”
- Chelsea Boyd is the SSVF Program Manager for the Buffalo, NY Veterans Outreach Center which serves 520 Veteran families annually.
SSVF Supervising Case Manager |Hudson River Housing, Inc.
“We were honored to receive the 2014 Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Award for Innovative Excellence for our Hire a Veteran program. The initiative, which we developed in collaboration with our county Chamber of Commerce, has been successful in bringing jobs to unemployed veterans and increasing awareness of and response to veteran joblessness in our community of Dutchess County. Receiving this award and being recognized by IVMF as the leading innovator among so many great programs was a great boost to us that enhanced our credibility and visibility, both in New York State and our own local community. The Chamber of Commerce proudly publicized the accomplishment in an article that was then published in the Poughkeepsie Journal. The guidance that IVMF has been providing to us as a member of the New York and New England Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Community of Practice (CoP) has helped us to grow and improve as an SSVF program to better serve our participants.”
- Jocelyn Johnson-Kearny is the SSVF Supervising Case Manager Hudson River Housing, Inc. in Poughkeepsie, NY which serves Dutchess County, NY