We're All Green: A veteran mentoring program

We’re All Green is a veteran mentoring program that aims to make the transition from soldier to student easier. What is unique about We’re All Green is that we use a system that is currently in place in the United States Military and apply it to civilian education models. We strongly believe that by combining a bit of familiarity to the civilian world, along with an outlet for the student veteran to connect with like-minded peers, we can increase the percentage of veterans who receive a degree at the expiration of their education benefits, all while combating the unique difficulties veterans and military face while transitioning to the higher education environment.

Our mission is to better serve the veteran and military student community by assisting the student soldier and veteran while transitioning from military to campus life.

The Million Records Project, a collaboration between Student Veterans of America, the National Student Clearinghouse and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, found that only 52 percent of the veterans who began using their GI Bill benefits between 2002 and 2010 earned a post-secondary degree or certificate by June 2013. While some consider this a "win", because it is roughly in line with the national average, I believe the military and veteran community should be held to a higher standard because they've already accomplished so much at a young age.

More than 1 million student veterans have used or currently use benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which has received more than $30 billion in funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2009.

"The biggest challenge, which I share with most student veterans who come out of service and enter the classroom, is kind of the distance," Kinch says. "So, you’re used to being with very like-minded people. You’re all doing the same job and suddenly you’re thrown into a situation where no one is the same as you." -Abby Kinch, an Air Force veteran pursuing her doctorate in public administration and policy at Florida State University.

To help increase the rate of veterans who earn a degree prior to the expiration of their education benefits, it is proposed by the “We’re All Green” campaign to put in place a system of accountability where veterans will be held responsible among themselves. During this process veterans will have the opportunity to bond and forge similar relationships to those they had during their time of service through daily/weekly group meetings and multi-day weekend events. It is the hope of the “We’re All Green” program that this opportunity will provide veterans an extra outlet to cope with the unique issues and circumstances they experience while transitioning from military to student life.