Wanted: Volunteer Veteran Mentors

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com

Published 02/21 2014 11:37AM

Updated 02/21 2014 06:44PM

 The Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office is seeking veterans who would like to
volunteer to help other veterans charged with nonviolent offenses in the criminal justice system.
  The mentor program, which was started in 2011, currently has 20 veteran mentors, some of
whom were in combat, in the program. Some of the mentors have worked with four or more
veterans who were charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
  The mentors, who receive four hours of training, help mentees to find jobs, further their
educations, obtain stable housing, stay drug and alcohol free, comply with conditions of bail,
house arrest, and probation or parole, and access veterans’ benefits.  They also work with
veterans’ families to help them to support their loved ones, and they sometimes accompany
mentees to court.
  “The program has been a tremendous success because of the dedication and compassion of
veterans who volunteer their time and talents to help other veterans,” said District Attorney
James B. Martin.  “The mentors have helped veterans’ entire families because when a veteran
who is a defendant is helped, that aids the spouse, children, parents and siblings of the veteran.”
  The total number of mentors since the program started is 29.  Some of the mentors left
because they changed jobs that prevented them from continuing in the program, moved out of
the area or had health issues that prevented them from continuing.
  “Because of the popularity of the program and the fact that it is making a difference in the
lives of veterans and their families, we now need more mentors to meet the needs of veterans
who want help,” Martin said.
  Another training for mentors will be scheduled in the near future.
  Veterans interested in becoming a mentor can obtain an application by doing the following:
  Go to www.lehighcounty.org and click on the “elected officials” tab to go to the drop-down
menu for the District Attorney’s Office. An application for the program and a brochure are
on the left.
  After applications are received, the program’s Steering Committee schedules interviews
with applicants in the Courthouse. All applicants are asked for proof of honorable discharge by
providing a copy of their DD 214.

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