When a service member leaves the military, it can be a very jarring experience. Not only are they leaving behind the structured and regimented life of which they have become accustomed, but it may be hard for them to find a job, regulate their emotions, or even relate to a civilian counterpart. For these veterans, the best medicine may be connecting with other veterans through peer-to-peer interaction.

A new Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs program, called the Veterans Peer Corps, aims to connect veterans to one another and provide mentorship, training, and resources to help them help each other.

Created by the passage of Senate Bill 5849 in 2017, the program assists both veterans and their dependents. Members receive certification as peer mentors and then facilitate meetings and activities for other veterans living in their own communities.

“I am so proud to have sponsored the bill to create such an amazing program using volunteers and folks to help our veterans in many aspects,” said Senator Jan Angel, who sponsored SB 5849.

Those interested in becoming Veterans Peer Corps mentors can apply here. The program requires eight hours of training and a commitment of four to six hours each month. Mentors are encouraged to turn their passions — including fishing, gaming, and other outdoor activities — into mentoring opportunities.