Mission
   
Who We Are
   
What We Do
   
History
   
National Board
   

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Background

Mission:

USVH strives to help long-term care patients in Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospitals. Often, these patients are elderly and in many cases suffer from some type of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. However, opportunites to help exist in any ward where patients are experiencing loneliness. In some cases, interested students can also participate in clinical care of the patients, depending on the willingness and need of the hospital. Primarily, however, the goal of USVH is to make veterans feel appreciated.

Find out how you can help here!


Who We Are:

USVH volunteers include high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, and currently hail from several different schools around the nation. As volunteering with the elderly means something different to each person, our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and interests, all with the common goal of “giving back to those who gave so much.”


           

USVH National Headquarters

is located in the
Haas Center for Public Service
at Stanford University

What We Do:

USVH students generally volunteer at least two hours per week, and activities with veterans vary between student-veteran pairs. At the beginning of each school year, each volunteer is assigned two veterans to visit each week, but most students tend to befriend and build lasting relationships with many veterans. As most veterans look forward to student visits, volunteers are asked to dedicate themselves to consistently appear at the Veterans Affairs Hospital each week. Consistent volunteering is also crucial to building meaningful relationships with their veterans.

On a typical day volunteering, students and veterans activities range from chatting, playing board games, walking around the building or an outdoor garden, looking at magazines together, watching TV together – it all really depends on the student-veteran pair. Some chapters organize weekly or monthly activities for both veterans and students to engage in. These special events also vary. Examples of special events held in the past at the Stanford Chapter include a performance by the Stanford Jazz Orchestra, a pumpkin-decorating party for Halloween, movie matinees complete with popcorn to munch on, origami-making parties, and an annual “Art in the Park” event at the Menlo Park Veterans Affairs Hospital, featuring carnival games and performances by different student groups. To see examples of school year events, please click here.


History:

In the spring of 1994, a Stanford University student volunteering in the Alzheimer's Ward at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Administration Hospital discovered a group of patients suffering from loneliness. He made a vow that these patients, and others like them, would never know such despair again. With that promise, United Students for Veterans' Health (USVH) was born. The Stanford USVH program began with forty volunteers dedicating their afternoons and evenings to interact with the Alzheimer's patients by going on walks, playing games, and engaging in conversation. A call to serve echoed across the nation and USVH grew into what it is today: a student-led organization with chapters of caring volunteers at VA Hospitals across the nation.

Read about our founders here!


National Board:

Today, USVH's National Headquarters are located in the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. The National Board was created in 2004 in order to focus efforts on expanding the program to other schools around the country. Members of the National Board work closely with student leaders from other schools to start up a new chapter, advising them throughout all the steps necessary to recruit and interview volunteers, establish relations with a local VA, and how to maintain an active chapter. As the National Board consists of Stanford students, they collaborate frequently with the Stanford Chapter Board, as well as consistently volunteer each week at the Palo Alto VA Hospital.

Meet our National Board members!

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