San Diego's Most Impactful Non-Profit Active Valor
San Diego’s most impactful non-profit voted by you is Active Valor. This San Diego based non-profit works within the veteran and gold star family communities bringing together gild star children with mentors. They also bring together the community by hosting outdoor adventures to bring together these gold star kids and mentors! We got the honor of interviewing one of the founding members Perry Yee about this impactful non-profit
*gold star family- Immediate family members of the U.S. Armed forces who have been killed in combat or committed suicide due to PTSD related symptoms.
LBD: What does Active Valor do?
PERRY: We work with transitioning veterans and help them regain their purpose out of leaving the military. So we started a mentorship program to pair veterans with children who have lost a parent in combat or to PTSD related suicide. And we host outdoor adventures where these veterans can then pass on their squired skill sets and knowledge to these kids that don’t have access to them.
LBD: How did Active Valor start?
PERRY: So I left the service back in 2011 and I spent about five years bouncing from job to job not finding anything that was really meaningful in my life after leaving the service. Working with a lot of veterans throughout the years you can see a common trend of whether they were successful in business or they had a family there was still something missing inside, and I believe that it was that sense of service, and doing something meaningful for your community or your country.
LBD: Why did you choose the gold star community?
PERRY: We choose the gold star community because we all have someone we have lost in-service, and we believe there is no better way to honor them than to support their families once they have passed.
LBD: Where do you see Active Valor ten years down the road?
PERRY: Well, ten years is quite a long time, so our first event was actually September of 2017. We started out with twelve gold star kids and twelve veteran mentors, and every time we host an adventure we keep the same mentors with the same kids to keep that ongoing mentorship in their lives, to create a positive impact in their lives and have that familiar face. The last event that we did, we actually hot twenty-five gold star kids, and twenty-five veterans mentors, so in ten years it's hard to see how far we will go. Unfortunately, there are a lot of gold star families but there are a lot of veterans that need this assistance as well. So its really just seeing our community grow, and we want to start hosting weekend retreats and start adventures for gold star spouses as well.
LBD: What is the most amazing transformation you have seen thus far?
PERRY: I would say the most amazing trend, well I don’t know if there is one. Like I said we started last year and just the amount of growth that we have had, and every time we have a new event we have new gold star families and veterans on board, and its all through word of mouth so every time we have a new family sign up that means someone took the time to talk about our organization, and the impact it has had on their kids. For us its just knowing that what we are doing is making a difference.
LBD: What is are you most proud of that Active Valor has created?
PERRY: What we are most proud of is along the same lines. It’s knowing that what we are doing is making a difference. And after each adventure having the spouses reach out to us and taking the time to let us know how impactful our program was for their kid. Every time we have an event we hear its the best one they have been to, so, unfortunately, we have kind of raised the bar and have to keep coming up with creative ways to make sure they have these unique experiences. We love the impact that we make in not only the kids, but also the veterans. to see that they are able to really press into the lives of the kids.
LBD: What is the biggest need for Active Valor?
PERRY: The biggest need for us right now is actually the funding. So we don’t have a recurring standardized fundraising program yet. The amount of growth that we have had has been great for what we can handle, but we have so many ideas of what we can do and be able to take it to the next level really relies on the funding, and the people who want to get invested in our program. Every time we bring out a sponsor for an event not only do we want to showcase what we are doing but we want them to get involved.
LBD: What has been your biggest challenge throughout the time that Active Valor has been here
PERRY: The biggest challenge was probably finding the gold star families for our first event. Rightfully so it is a closed-off community and we were a company that was just getting started, no one had heard of us yet, and we didn’t have any data to show them what we wanted to accomplish. But it took a long time to find those families and without those families, we don’t have a program. The hardest part was to actually showcase that we are here to actually walk the walk, and provide something meaningful to them.
LBD: What makes people in Active Valor happy?
PERRY: Oh, that's easy, it's just putting in the time and seeing the outcome. The adventure that we just had last weekend took months of planning, and gathering materials. The kids had their own Nerf guns, that we actually pulled apart to the last screw so they could get a custom paint job. The kids have a good time no matter what, they get the time with their veteran mentors and that's what they really want. In the end, it's not really us making the impact it is the time that the veterans put into the gold star kids. So what makes us happy is really seeing those bonds grow between these veterans and their mentees. It is just extremely rewarding.
LBD: How can our community and Life By Design support you?
PERRY: The best way just helps get the word out. Like I said we are very new but we have been able to make a pretty big impact n the amount of time we have been around. But just spreading the word and let our community know that we exist. We want people to feel a part of this with every donation we try to make sure that we share what the outcome is with everyone. To get people invested in what we are doing and to know that we are here and available.
LBD: What is your mission statement?
PERRY: To repurpose the lives of our transitioning veterans by giving them a mentorship role to children who have lost a parent in combat or to PTSD related suicide, also referred to as gold star kids.
LBD: What are you excited for?
PERRY: We are planning our next year's agenda, and we will also be having our second annual fundraising dinner in February of next year so be on the lookout for that and we are just looking to spread the word that we are out there.
Active Valor helps bring mentorship, purpose, and community to those who have lost so much. We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with this amazing non-profit. If you would like to get more involved or learn more about Active Valor, their mission, and what they do check them out on social media!
Kristen Crooks is a personal assistant, ghostwriter, event planner, and speaker. She works closely with all their clients to truly understand their passions, tone, and ideas so their vision can unfold in front of their eyes. In a world that is increasing more digital Kristen hopes to bring her personal touch to each article, and event that she works on. While working with Stegela Success Mastery Kristen found her passion in writing and planning events for those around her. Starting out in Cosmetology and Barbering Kristen has always enjoyed the freedom that entrepreneurship allows but was not living her passion! Now Kristen focuses on helping others through amazing events, and making sure their stories are told, and heard! While events and ghostwriting are part of her passion, the true joy comes form helping people achieve their goals, and ultimately see others dreams unfold before their eyes.