NCServes Central Carolina: A Coordinated Network Supporting Veterans, Families Through Challenges and Strengths

North Carolina is home to the fourth largest active duty military population in the United States and a major veteran population. Standing by their side is a large group of organizations that aim to support those populations and their families. But even with this wide breadth of resources, gaps in service can make it difficult for veterans and their families to access assistance.

The NCServes Central Carolina network is working to fill those gaps. Founded in June of 2016, NCServes Central Carolina became the fourth AmericaServes network in the nation and the second in North Carolina.

The network is coordinated by the USO of North Carolina, a nonprofit organization strengthening military service members by connecting them to family, home and country. NCServes provides a unique opportunity for the USO of NC to provide even more support tailored to benefit each individual military service member. Today as the Central Carolina network coordinator center, the USO of NC ensures that veterans and their families are connected to the right provider every time.

“The NCServes Central Carolina network is making a tremendous impact in the Raleigh, Fayetteville and Triad communities,” said John Falkenbury, president and CEO of the USO of North Carolina. “By serving as the coordination center for this network, we are provided the great opportunity to continue carrying out our mission from the moment that our service members enter the military and through their transition out of service.”

More than 80 organizations have shown a true commitment to supporting Central Carolina’s veterans and their families by joining the network as providers, and serve as the network’s “nervous system.” Providers send to and receive referrals from the coordination center, like signals to and from the brain. Using a software created by Unite US, each referral is diligently tracked to ensure that the correct service provider is chosen for the assistance needed.

The network saves, changes and positively impacts the lives of clients like Ola Richardson, a military spouse stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, nearly every day. Richardson learned about NCServes after attending a USO of North Carolina resiliency program and asked to be connected to alternative therapies or resources to relax. Through a referral, she was connected with Back in the Saddle Equine Therapy for Heroes and has made major improvements since starting the program.

“He [Ola’s Husband], has said I’ve made a 180 degree turn from where I was four months ago. He thinks the horses have been a very good therapy for me,” said Ola Richardson.

The Central Carolina network is part of a nationwide AmericaServes movement led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. The movement is revolutionizing the way services are provided to those who have worn the uniform by creating a coordinated care system.

These systems are constantly evolving network, changing to incorporate the best practices to succeed in its mission. Over the last two years, NCServes Central Carolina has grown from a small network in few counties to a thriving organization covering three major areas in North Carolina.

To date, the NCServes Central Carolina network has served more than 1,800 veterans, service members and family members with more than 3,000 assistance requests through this coordinated and collaborative effort made possible by passionate members of the Central Carolina community.