Sometimes a straightforward answer tells most of the story.
“The Canadian Legacy Project was created when we realized that there wasn’t a group or a national organization that concentrated on the well-being of veterans and supporting veterans as they transition to civilian life,” says the passionately committed Dave Howard, founder and president of the Calgary-based Canadian Legacy Project (CLP).
“Too many of our veterans are having a difficult time transitioning back to civilian life and are in need of vital support with matters like employment, housing and PTSD. These men and women stood on guard for our country and through CLP, we have taken up the role to stand up for them and be there in their time of need.”
More than 2,000 veterans have been helped in 2018 through the Canadian Legacy Project’s diverse roster of programs such as the unique Homes For Heroes project, designed to build “tiny home” communities across Canada, with a specialized layout and lifestyle feel to assist homeless veterans with affordable housing and a robust support system. However, Howard explains CLP programs focusing on PTSD – peer-to-peer programming, service dogs, food donation for service dogs, and the outdoor group activities based on peer support – are in high demand.
As the CLP fundraising season kicks into high gear, Howard highlights three ambitious and innovative new programs. First off, CLP is collaborating with the Canadian Armed Forces and Hockey Calgary to educate youth about the sacrifices made by veterans while teaching over 1,100 young people about leadership, resiliency, citizenship and community service.
CLP has also created the new “Got Your Six” mental health support program. In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back,” originating with
First World War fighter pilots referencing the rear of an airplane as the six o’clock. “Got Your Six” will assist veterans and their families who are dealing with PTSD and transitioning into civilian life by providing coaching related to stress and mental health challenges.
Also, in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust charity and its banking partners, CLP is offering entrepreneurship training and micro-loan programs for veterans to develop and help finance their business ventures.
One of the highest-profile (and emotional) CLP initiatives is the annual Field of Crosses, when 3,400 white crosses are on display from November 1 until the day after Remembrance Day, in the park along Calgary’s Memorial Drive.
Howard enthusiastically points out, “CLP is a small organization with a big mandate. We advocate for our veterans to support their transition from military to civilian life, and improve veteran well-being in important areas like employment and a sense of purpose, financial security, housing, health, life skills and preparedness, social integration, family stability, and cultural and social environment.”
He adds CLP – a registered charity working throughout Canada – is 100 per cent volunteer managed and directed. “We do not have traditional expenses many charity groups have, which ensures that the donations made towards the Canadian Legacy Project go directly to supporting our veterans.”
Calgarians can support CLP by donating online at www.canadianlegacy.org or by mail to The Canadian Legacy Project at #900, 2424-4th ST SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2S 2T4. Tax receipts are issued for donations over $20.