About Us

La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program, Inc. (“LAVMP”).

Incorporated on June 2, 2011, La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program, Inc. (“LAVMP”) is a Wisconsin nonprofit corporation. On June 25, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service issued a determination letter, recognizing LAVMP as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Charitable donations to LAVMP are tax-deductible under Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

LAVMP is not funded by any federal, state or local government resources. LAVMP is led and staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers who offer their time and resources for the benefit of struggling Veterans and their families. LAVMP’s generous donors provide the sole source of funding for the organization.

LAVMP is dedicated to mentoring, helping, serving and raising funds for the benefit of Veterans and their families in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. At Judge Bjerke’s request, LAVMP also raises funds to help support the court and compensate the court’s LAVC Coordinator.

La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program

 

The La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program (“the Program”).

In collaboration with the La Crosse Area Veterans Court, LAVMP runs the La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program (“the Program”). The Program’s history dates back to 2009 when a grassroots group of La Crosse area government and community leaders met to discuss the plight and needs of Veterans and their families. Although the grassroots group’s key focus was on Veterans with service-connected injuries who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, it also wanted to address the needs of Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War and other conflicts. The ultimate goal of the Program is to help struggling Veterans return to civilian life as productive citizens, and to provide them and their families with financial and other support as they navigate that journey.

The Program was formally started on January 4, 2010. Approximately 10 months later, on November 11, 2010, the La Crosse Area Veterans Court (“LAVC”) was formally established. LAVC is led by the Honorable Todd W. Bjerke, the LAVC Judge. Judge Bjerke is assisted by two paid La Crosse County Circuit Court employees and a part-time LAVC Coordinator. The LAVC Coordinator works for and reports directly to Judge Bjerke.

Veterans in trouble

 

The Plight of Military Veterans and Their Families.

 The psychological consequences of combat and war can be devastating. Not all casualties of war come home in body bags. For some veterans, the greatest struggle they encounter is when they try to return to a regular life. Many Veterans experience substance abuse, behavioral health, criminal justice system and other challenges that make it difficult for them to return to civilian life.

  • There are more than 22,328,000 veterans in the United States; 418,461 in Wisconsin; 369,295 in Minnesota; and, more than 35,000 in the multi-county area served by La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program, Inc. (LAVMP).
  • The United States suffered more than 50,450 combat casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq. 103,792 veterans have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and another 253,330 veterans sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • More than 31,830 Wisconsin veterans served in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, 2001; 115 Wisconsin veterans died in combat; and, those conflicts are still pending. Two La Crosse County veterans died in combat during that period.
  • 14 to 16 percent of all veterans struggle with PTSD. Another 16 percent suffer from substance abuse.
  • 18 veterans per day – 6,570 per year – lose hope and commit suicide in the United States. Closer to home, in La Crosse County, five veterans have committed suicide since September 11, 2001.
  • Due to their combat experience and training, veterans are unique and at high risk for becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Nine percent of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have been arrested since returning from overseas. 43 percent of all veterans in prison have four or more arrests.
  • Veterans are not the only ones who are struggling. Their spouses and families have been adversely affected by marital discord, loss of intimacy, domestic violence and other challenges.

LAVMP’s Mission

LAVMP’s Vision

LAVMP’s Values

LAVMP’s Key Objectives and Goals