VMC on Talk Philly

Did you catch the VMC on Talk Philly?!

Talk Philly

In the countdown to our Veterans Day Telethon on CBS next Tuesday, November 11th from 3:00-8:00PM, our Director of Development, Debby Derricks, was interviewed by news anchor Ukee Washington on CBS3's Talk Philly earlier this week. 


During the segment, Debby shared how the VMC is able to help Veterans in a multitude of ways through "wrap-around" services and explained what it means to #RewriteTheCardboard. 


Don't worry if you missed it! You still can (and should!) watch the VMC segment here: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/11/04/the-veterans-multi-service-center-vmc/


Ending Veteran Homelessness by “Rewriting the Cardboard”


As featured on PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com by Zachary Rendin and Robert Dieckmann


It’s an all too familiar scene, a homeless or impoverished veteran standing on a street corner or by a busy intersection, holding a cardboard sign and pleading for help. Often the cardboard signs are inscribed with a request for work, food or money.

The Veterans Multi-Service Center is aiming to change that perspective with their on-going “Rewrite the Cardboard” campaign.

“It’s a cost effective way to motivate the public,” said Debby Derricks, the VMC director of development. “Everyone has a Sharpie and a piece of cardboard. I think if you ask most people, they would say they support veterans and this gives them the tools to show it.”

On Veterans Day (November 11), volunteers and VMC staffers will take to city streets, decked out in camouflage T-shirts with cardboard signs in hand. Their goal is to use the familiar imagery of the signs to promote services like housing placement and job assistance that the VMC offers to veterans.

Delvin Brinson (pictured above) knows how important connecting homeless veterans to these services can be.

“When I came here, I needed some help myself,” said Brinson. “The people who bring [in] people off the streets have to know what it’s like. [You] help them understand what you can offer them to help them.”

Brinson, an Army veteran, was homeless before he took advantage of the programs at the VMC. He eventually became employed as a driver for the VMC, completed their Microsoft training course and now also works as an outreach specialist.

“A couple times I had to keep myself from tears,” said Brinson as he described what it’s like getting a homeless veteran off of the streets. “Someone who has a place to live can go and close off the world for a while, relax and have peace of mind. That allows them to come up with ideas of how they want to be.” 

#RewritecardboardSN_rendinpnfall2014The beginning of 2014 marked “The Year of the Veteran” and the second year for the cardboard campaign. Last year, street teams were organized from a group of 12 people. This year, the number of volunteers is expected to rise to more than 30 people. This all feeds into one of the VMCs’ primary goals of ending veterans homelessness by the end of 2015.

“Everyone is flabbergasted by where we are today compared to where we were last year,” Derricks said of the increase in team members. 

The initiative is also growing through social media. Supporters are encouraged to make their own cardboard signs and tweet them @VM_Center with #RewriteTheCardboard.

VMC staff members prouTonydly sport their own signs around the office, each with their own take on what the campaign means to them.  Among them is Tony Chavez (pictured left), a cook at the facility, who has expressed his perspective through a sign that reads I provide food for the body and the mind.

“I cook healthy food with lots of vegetables to promote wellness,” Chavez said. “I also talk with a lot of the guys when they’re here. Knowledge sharing helps them to grow their minds as well.”

Cassondra Flanagan (pictured below) is an army veteran who now works at the VMC. Her sign reads, “I will advocate for all my fellow veterans.”


“Advocating, for me, is if everyone tells a bit of their own story,” Flanagan said. “Anybody who has served has probably lost friends and we all face different social issues. You tell your story and other people have a chance to tell their story.”

CassondraKeep your eye’s peeled in Philadelphia on Veterans Day for the VMC’s street teams. To find out more about Rewrite the Cardboard, visit the center’s Facebook page.

- Text and images by Bob Dieckmann and Zachary Rendin.


Ride for Freedom at Jeff Daniel's Jeeps


 Ride for Freedom in Lower Salford


By Eric Devlin, TheReporterOnline.com


Large crowds gathered to check out the different Jeeps during the ‘Be a Hero for a Hero- Ride for Freedom’ event in Lower Salford Sunday. The event, hosted by Jeff Daniel’s Jeep Customizing, benefitted the Veterans Multi-Service Center in Philadelphia.



Rewrite the Cardboard

(Scroll through to see WHO else is has joined us to #RewriteTheCardboard!)


As an organization committed to the advancement of our nation’s heroes, our veterans, we embark on new campaign to “Rewrite the Cardboard."


We're calling on veterans and supporters (like you!) to hold the all-too-familiar cardboard sign, but with one important modification: instead of pleas for help, your sign will share how the VMC provides essential support, or how as a supporter you plan to join the movement (For example, one Veteran’s sign reads, “I have a job and can support my family thanks to VMC”).


The new campaign is intended to not only raise awareness of veteran homelessness, but give an authentic voice to veteran issues of today.


Participating in the VMC campaign is simple; supporters and social media advocates will need a piece of cardboard a writing utensil, and a hopeful message they would prefer to see written on a cardboard sign along with the hashtag #RewriteTheCardboard. VMC can be tagged on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VM_Center (@VM_Center) and on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VeteranCenter.


With the ongoing commitment on behalf of the city, state and several non-profits to End Veteran Homelessness, there is a clear, collective urgency to bring the challenges of our nation’s heroes to the forefront and the VMC is devoted to leading the charge. We hope that the “Rewrite the Cardboard” campaign will launch an honest conversation about the real concerns of veterans today and ultimately motivate our community to join in serving those who have served.


To view the movement, visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VeteranCenter

Twitter: @VM_Center

Instagram: @VM_Center



Will YOU #RewriteTheCardboard?

Housing Veterans in Montgomery and Chester Counties




CHESTER COUNTY -Center helped veterans find housing


WEST CHESTER - More than 100 veterans in Chester County are no longer homeless after a tri-county push to find permanent housing for veterans.


Earlier this year, Chester County committed to housing 100 veterans in 100 days. It placed 102 veterans in homes between March 17 and June 27, the county announced last week.


Montgomery County, which initially pledged to house 15 veterans, housed 30. Delaware County, which said it would house 36, housed 18 veterans, said Maura Gillen, a deputy executive director at the Veterans Multi-Service Center.


The center is headquartered in Philadelphia, but its Operating Base Cecelia is in Coatesville and serves the suburban counties.


William Griffin, an Army veteran, is living in a one-bedroom apartment in Coastesville thanks to the housing inititative. Griffin, 50, lived in his car for a few weeks after he got hurt at work and lost his income. "If it wasn't for this program, I would be homeless," he said. "I don't know what I would do."


Click the link to read the original article.


Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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