Here are some frequently asked questions about the Buddy-to-Buddy Program. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please contact us. Click on one of the categories below to view answers to these common questions.

General Questions Getting Assistance Questions Volunteering Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Does Buddy-to-Buddy offer any direct services to veterans, such as emergency financial assistance, rides to medical appointments, benefit claims review, or counseling?
The program does not offer any direct services to veterans. We connect service members and veterans who need assistance with one of our Volunteer Veterans who can identify appropriate resources and refer the individual to a point of contact there.

Is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program available anywhere in Michigan?
Yes. The program has volunteers located across the state of Michigan, in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. To provide assistance, the program connects a service member or veteran who needs assistance with a volunteer who lives close by or, if the soldier is active with the National Guard, with a volunteer who is assigned to their unit/armory.

Where are Buddy-to-Buddy volunteers located?
The program has volunteers at almost all MIARNG armories, as well as other military installations. Volunteers also attend veteran-related community events. Volunteers with special expertise in areas such as law or benefits are another component of our volunteer corps. For questions on where or how you can be in touch, please contact us at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu.

Is there a program similar to Buddy-to-Buddy in states other than Michigan? How can I bring Buddy-to-Buddy to my state?
Buddy-to-Buddy is active in Illinois (Warrior-to-Warrior) and in West Virginia. For questions regarding starting the program in your state, please email us at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu, and our leadership will be in contact with you.

I would like to make a donation to Buddy-to-Buddy. How do I go about doing that?
Thank you for considering making a donation to the program! We truly appreciate your support. To make a donation online, please visit www.giving.umich.edu/give/mspan and click on “M-SPAN Buddy-to-Buddy Program– 318662.” To make a gift by phone or by mail, please contact Lisa Fabian, Associate Director of Development, University of Michigan Depression Center, at (734) 763-4895 or fabianl@umich.edu.
Note: Please make checks payable to University of Michigan Depression Center, M-SPAN and use the Memo line in your check to designate “Buddy-to-Buddy” as the special fund.

I would like to have someone from the program speak at an event. Who should I contact?
If your organization is organizing a community or veteran-specific event in Michigan, we would be happy to have one of our program staff or one of our volunteers set up a Buddy-to-Buddy table or make a presentation. Please contact us at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu with more details.

I would like to have some Buddy-to-Buddy brochures and flyers in my office. Who should I contact to obtain some?
Please email us at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu with your contact information and we will be happy to send you Buddy-to-Buddy program materials.

Where is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program central office?
Our office is located at 2025 Traverwood, Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105.

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GETTING ASSISTANCE

Is there a fee to get help from the program?
No. The program is completely free.

What can a Volunteer Veteran do for me?
Our Volunteer Veterans are trained in local, state, and federal resources available to service members and veterans. Volunteer Veterans can guide you through the difficult process of identifying, reaching out to, and following-up with a resource or service that can address concerns you have, they can also provide a listening ear and support along the way.

What kind of situations can a Volunteer Veteran help me with?
Volunteer Veterans can assist you in finding resources for problems relating to education, employment, finances, benefit claims, legal matters, medical issues, mental health, substance abuse, relationship issues, and any other identified needs.

I don’t live in Michigan. Can I receive assistance from the program?
Unfortunately, resources vary from state to state, and our expertise is built on years of researching and connecting with Michigan resources. We advise that you contact your local County Veteran Service Officer to find out more about resources near you.

Do I have to be a National Guard soldier to receive assistance?
No. The program will assist any service member or veteran in Michigan.

I am a MIARNG soldier and want to be connected with a Volunteer Veteran. Will what I say to them get back to my chain of command?
No. What you share with a Volunteer Veteran is completely confidential and your conversation is in no way reported to your chain of command without your permission. The only exceptions are in emergencies such as suicidal or homicidal ideation and suspected child abuse.

I am a veteran and would like to be connected with a Volunteer Veteran. Do I have to provide my DD214 to receive help from the program? Do I need to have an honorable or other-than-dishonorable discharge in order to receive assistance from the program?
No. The program does not look at any kind of military record for those we assist. We will assist any Michigan veteran regardless of discharge status.

Does the program offer assistance to family members (spouses, parents, children) of veterans?
The program is focused on assisting the service members and veterans themselves, however, other M-SPAN Programs are focused on helping military families. Please visit www.m-span.org for information on our child and family programs.

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VOLUNTEERING

I’m not a veteran. Can I still volunteer with the program?
We do not currently have volunteer opportunities for non-veterans. We require that all our volunteers be military veterans in order to build trust and connect with the soldiers and veterans they serve on a deeper level.

I’m not a Post-9/11 veteran. Can I volunteer with the program?
Yes. Veterans of any era are eligible to be Buddy-to-Buddy volunteers. Many of our volunteers are Vietnam, Korea, and Desert Storm-era veterans.

I’m currently in the National Guard, can I volunteer with the program?
Yes, but there are certain limitations. Please contact program staff at buddytobuddyvvp@umich.edu for more information.

I work for a large organization, and we have a group interested in volunteering with the program for Veterans Day/ National Day of Service/ Memorial Day/ etc. Are there any opportunities available?
Unfortunately, we do not have any one-day volunteering opportunities or opportunities for large groups. The Mission Continues has an active presence in Detroit and regularly recruits volunteers for service projects.

I’m a veteran interested in being a Volunteer Veteran. What exactly would I be doing in the program?
You may serve in a few ways, depending on your preferences and background. This will either be assignment to an NG unit and armory, or as an at-large volunteer, in which case we will contact you with referrals. Many of our volunteers attend veteran outreach events where we have a Buddy-to-Buddy table. If you have special expertise such as in law or with veterans benefits, we will be happy to take advantage of that expertise if you are willing. We also find that our volunteers run into veterans in need in their day-to-day lives and provide help in those situations as well. Our volunteers participate in weekly support calls with program staff and other volunteers where resources are shared and concerns are discussed.

How do I apply to be a Volunteer Veteran?
Please apply online through our application page.

What does the application process entail? How long will it take for me to start volunteering?
Once your application is received, we will review it and contact you in 1-3 days for an interview to ensure you are a good fit for the program. After the interview, you will go through a one-day training session. The program usually conducts a training every six weeks. After the training, a background check will be done. The background check takes two weeks to be completed. Once completed, our staff will work with you to find the best fit for your service. Please be advised that it may be a month between your time of application and when you begin doing your volunteer work.

What does the one-day training cover?
In the training, we cover program policies, volunteer roles and responsibilities, what to expect in the armories, communication skills, recognizing potential problems, handling emergencies, using the volunteer website, Michigan resources, and other useful information for volunteers.

Can I choose the armory where I will be assigned?
We will definitely take any requests and personal preferences into consideration, however, we work with the Guard in order to identify which units and armories are most in need of a volunteer. We also try to assign volunteers to armories that are within 50 miles of their place of residence.

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