Dear Volunteers,

As of this writing, I have been on the job for three whole weeks, though it feels much longer than that, but for all the right reasons. The volunteers, Team Leaders, and staff have been very welcoming. But most of all, everyone’s professionalism and dedication has made me feel confident in the future of our efforts to help veterans. We have a solid pipeline of new volunteers who have just been trained or are eagerly awaiting the next training!

I wanted to take this time to share a few priorities of mine that I’ve mentioned already in meetings, support calls, and trainings:
First, similar to how we all seek to let our veterans know they are not alone, I want you all to know we are here for you. Your Team Leaders and staff are available to help whenever you need additional support with a case. We will never intentionally assign you a case that feels too difficult. When you need additional support, with anything from resources to mental health backup, we are here. 

Second, I want to stay connected and share information as much as possible. Having a two-year-old, I know how difficult it can be to make a support call at 1700 on Mondays. But if you can dial in, even while making dinner or feeding your dog, we are glad to have you. We design those calls to be professional development opportunities to learn more about resources; it turns out there are a lot of those for veterans out there. 

Third, please let me, Jamie, Amy, or your Team Leader know if you have an interest in becoming an armory or unit volunteer. We have an outstanding group of unit volunteers currently; I just came from a meeting with the National Guard in Lansing in which a young sergeant vouched for the helpfulness of her unit’s B2B volunteer. We currently have fewer than half of the armories in the state covered. While being mindful of the unique needs and wishes of each unit, we want to increase that coverage. The Team Leaders have been very proactive and helpful with coordinating armory coverage and training. I am confident they and other unit volunteers would be happy to “show you the ropes” if you’re interested.

I look forward to many more months and years of service to our service members and veterans with you. Thank you for everything you do.  

Bill Bryan
Program Manager
New Volunteers
We are thrilled to welcome these new volunteers to our team this month!
John Bombetto
Navy Veteran, Sterling Heights
Michael Johnson
Marine Corps Veteran, Auburn Hills
Donna Major
Army Veteran, Novi
Ninette Marcotte
Air Force Veteran, New Baltimore
Ross Medos
Navy & Air Force Veteran, Willis
Donald Olson
Army Veteran, Holt
Patrick Probyn
Air Force Veteran, New Baltimore
Angel Vallejo
Air Force Veteran, Dearborn
Month in Review | January 2019
Number of service members and veterans assisted: 50

Concerns identified:
Top interaction log submitters:
Paul Jingozian - 49
Steve Alguire - 11
Dick Overton - 7
Jon Luker - 6
Ron Springer - 5
Gino DeTone - 5
Dingo Simionescu - 5

Number of drill/outreach events attended: 36

Most drill/outreach events attended and logged:
Cliff Tholen - 7
Alfonse VanHese - 2
Jon Luker - 2
Dick Overton - 2
Wilson Coomer - 2
Thank you for taking the time to submit your logs and using the website to communicate with us. These submissions are key in helping us continue to serve Michigan’s veterans.
This Month's Training Anniversaries
The following volunteers are celebrating their training anniversaries with the program this month: 

Seven Years!
Mike Thorne

Six Years
Cliff Tholen

Four Years
Scott Hamel
David MacIntosh

Three Years
Adam Dunn
Adam Obanjoko

Two Years
Mike Thompson

One Year
Matthew Reader
Anthony Terry

Thank you for your service!
Tips On Drawing People to Your B2B Table at Outreach Events
Buddy-to-Buddy seems to always elicit gratitude from those who take the time to learn about its vision and mission. However, when  conducting outreach, the trick is to find ways to get people to stop at the B2B exhibit table to hear our story and how we help veterans.  

Below are some tips on ways to help you increase your visitor engagement rate while you are representing B2B at an event:

  • Make sure the table is neat and organized for a professional and inviting appearance.

  • Stay off your cell phone so you look approachable and available to answer questions.
  • Engage with everyone who walks by. Some questions that help draw people in:
  • Have you heard of the Buddy-to-Buddy Program?
  • Where did you serve?
  • What was your military occupation?

  • Dress professionally or wear B2B gear as well as your B2B name tag to signal that this is a professional organization.

  • Have free giveaway items (e.g. candy, pens, cookies, water, etc.) on the end of the table where the traffic flow starts. Those items draw people in and then you can share documents and information with them in the middle and at the other end of the table. 

  • At large or busy events, stand up on the side of the table to greet people instead of sitting behind the table. 

  • Have a variety of dimensions (some things standing up, some lying down, etc.) on the table to make the table more interesting.

  • Set the volunteer recruiting list to the side; people avoid stopping if they think they have to sign up for something right away.

  • If appropriate/needed, have a drawing for a prize (discuss with your Team Leader and/or program staff for guidance/ideas).
Volunteer Recognition Event on
April 13 in Clare—Invitation Email Coming Soon!
This year our Volunteer Recognition Event will be on Saturday, April 13 in Clare, a charming town in northern Michigan. There is so much to do and see that you may want to stay an extra day or two (volunteers coming from long distances can request a hotel room for one night and you can book extra nights directly through the Doherty Hotel).
We are finalizing the schedule for the event this week and will soon send you all of the details to help you plan and RSVP in the invitation email. Be on the lookout for it!
More Volunteers Needed
Do you know any veterans who would be great B2B volunteers? We need a few more volunteers in the following areas:

  • Detroit
  • Saginaw
  • Midland
  • Lansing
  • Monroe
  • Traverse City
  • Port Huron
  • Sandusky
  • Bad Axe

If you run across someone who would be a great volunteer, please contact Amy at (734) 998-5829 or amkienas@umich.edu and let her know, or you can have them fill out an application here .  
Counties shown in blue have at least one volunteer residing in them; counties in green have no volunteers.
Schedule a Re-Training
Has it been a while since you went through our New Volunteer Training? A lot has changed. Do you think you might benefit from going through training again? If so, contact us about attending an upcoming training. We continually update our training content and think that any and all volunteers who are interested in refreshing their skills will benefit from going through the new and updated training. We'll provide a free lunch. Contact us to schedule a re-training.
Need Any New Program Supplies? Let Us Know!
Are you running low on program materials? Are you unsure about whether the materials you have are the most current versions? If so, please contact Jamie Majer at (734) 998-5825 or jmajer@umich.edu and the supplies you need will be ordered and sent to you as soon as possible.
Interested in Representing Buddy-to-Buddy at an Event?
Below are some upcoming events we will be at and are in need of volunteers for:

  • Fri., March 22: USA Hockey Military Appreciation Weekend in Plymouth (need another volunteer)
  • Sat., March 30: Smart Money Forum in Southfield (need another volunteer)
  • Fri., April 12 and Sun., April 14: MING State Volunteer Workshop in Grand Rapids (need volunteers)
  • Sat., August 10: VCAT 9 VetFest in Brighton (need volunteers)
  • Mon., August 12 through Sun., August 18: UP State Fair in Escanaba (need volunteers)
If you would like to represent Buddy-to-Buddy at any of the events above or some other veteran-focused event in your community, contact Amy Kienast at amkienas@umich.edu or (734) 998-5829.
Buddy-to-Buddy Pics
Volunteers Jon Luker and Don Behm (center) sharing about Buddy-to-Buddy with community partners at a program open house event in Adrian.
Amy Kienast at the American Legion Mid-Winter Meeting in Flint.
Buddy-to-Buddy is part of Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN), a portfolio of military and veteran mental health programs within the University of Michigan Depression Center .
Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program
2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C | Ann Arbor | MI | 48105