Florida BrAIVe Fund

North Florida Military Peer Support Initiative

Military Family Peer Support Initiative

Florida BrAIve Fund: In 2008, The Miami Foundation, The Community Foundation in Jacksonville and Gulf Coast Community Foundation were each awarded $5 million grants by the California Community Foundation as part of the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund (IADIF) to establish a statewide initiative addressing the needs of military personnel and their families impacted by deployments to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Together, the foundations created The Florida BrAIve Fund, with each foundation managing grants in their region of Florida.

BackgroundIn 2009 and 2010, 7-Dippity was provided funding from the Miami Foundation and the Community Foundation in Jacksonville to develop initiatives supporting the mental health needs of military families and veterans in 42 Florida counties. A brief overview of the initiatives is as follows:

North Florida Military Peer Support Initiative:
The North Florida Military Peer Support Initiative focused on enhancing long-term mental health services for OEF/OIF military families and Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG) veterans in 38 counties in North Florida. The Initiative was a peer-based project utilizing first-person advice from veterans and military family members to help peers cope with similar challenges related to deployment and reintegration. A needs assessment, networking and community capacity-building components were integral parts of the project, aimed at enhancing the ability of civilian communities in North Florida to better understand and serve the needs of post-9/11 military populations living in the region.

South Florida Military Family Peer Support Initiative:
The South Florida Military Family Peer Support Initiative was another peer-based project funded by a Florida BrAIve Fund grant from the Dade Community Foundation to support the mental health needs of military families in South Florida. The Initiative utilized peer advice and experiences to support military families through the deployment cycle and enhance mental health services by local service providers. A comprehensive needs assessment, training component, specialized psychoeducational tools, and networking component were part of the project.

Military Family Peer Guide: An integral part of each project was the development of a specialized tool called a “Military Family Peer Guide” for family members of military personnel. The tool is called a “peer guide” because it is guided by, and contains excerpts from, the interviews of military family members who have experienced the deployment and reintegration of a loved one first-hand. The material captures their thoughts, insights, and lessons learned and relates this information to help other military families cope with similar challenges. To download an electronic version of the South Florida Military Family Peer Guide, please click on the cover below.