The transition from military to civilian life is challenging for many veterans, but a bakery in Washington D.C. is working to ease that transition, one scone at a time.
“I had PTSD, I had some traumatic brain injuries, my migraines were more frequent, and so I was like I don’t know if I can go to the conventional workforce.” That’s when Kim, and her service dog Thor, enrolled in Dog Tag.
Dog Tag is a nonprofit bakery in the heart of Washington D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, serving more than just scones. Meghan Ogilvie, Dog Tag’s CEO, says their mission is to provide a recipe for success for veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce. “What we’ve created here is this living business school. We recruit veterans with service connected disabilities, military spouses, and military caregivers. They go into our fellowship program for 5 months. They go through tests, papers and presentations to earn and graduate with a certificate in business administration from Georgetown.”
Every week the veterans spend 6 hours in the bakery, and 6 hours in the classroom. According to the defense department, more than 250,000 service members leave the military each year. Christopher Plamp with Hire Heroes says many of them need employment assistance. “They have never made a resume, they’ve never interviewed for a job, they don’t even understand the skills that they gained while they were in the military. That need never goes away.”
Plamp says Hire Heroes is an online platform that helps thousands of veterans across the country jumpstart their job search. “All of our services are done virtually. They are done over the phone, over the computer, over text or Skype, whatever is the best way to talk to the veteran or military spouse.”
Defoiri graduated from Dog Tag in 2018 and launched her own nonprofit. “Starting a business when you have no expertise in business, it’s hard. We started Badges United Foundation.” This foundation is dedicated to boosting overall wellness of first responders and their significant others.
“She’s a success in a variety of ways, but mostly because she found her voice and she’s found a way to serve again,” says Meghan Ogilvie.
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