FEATURED /// Oct 28, 2021
ADS Non-profit Partner Highlight: Active Valor
Active Valor gives new purpose to veterans as mentors to the children of fallen heroes.
Like so many veterans, Perry Yee’s initial transition from military to civilian life was a challenge.
He tried returning to school through the GI bill.
He slugged his way through meaningless jobs.
He struggled to find a new purpose in life.
The former Navy SEAL found it unexpectedly as he taught a close-quarters combat class in San Diego. It was the first time he had been around other veterans in a while, and it didn’t take him long to realize something important: “I’m not alone.”
"“It feels like 80 percent of veterans are going through the same struggles,” Yee recalled recently, “and yet we all feel like we’re alone.”"
Yee and his girlfriend (and now wife) Jamie, decided to do something about it. They created Active Valor, an ADS-supported non-profit organization based in San Diego that gives veterans new purpose as mentors to the children of fallen service members.
“It’s like a Big Brother program between vets and military kids,” Yee said. “It was the perfect concept that didn’t seem like it had been done before.”
It hadn’t. Today, the organization gives the nation’s Gold Star Children a positive role model to look up to while giving veterans a powerful new purpose in life. It has also given military widows an important new way to connect and support each other.
Programs like “Valor Adventures” link Gold Star kids with a veteran for a day of mission-based adventures that promote problem solving, community building, self confidence and more. It’s a no-pressure environment where kids can have fun and connect with each other. Active Valor vets have also been known to attend kid-dad events at school, and create open channels for kids to call, email or text anytime they need support.
The relationship between ADS and Active Valor started when Yee met ADS Administrative Manager Deborah Gries at Warrior Expo West in 2017. She invited him to set up a booth the following year, and the relationship has continued ever since. ADS now serves as an Active Valor Title Sponsor, supporting special events throughout the year such as an upcoming Halloween pumpkin carving and catered movie night for Gold Star children.
“Like most people, as soon as I heard Perry Yee’s story and learned about Active Valor’s mission, I was instantly moved and wanted to get involved,” Gries said. “Our whole company felt that way. Their mission is so inspiring, and aligns perfectly with our efforts to support military veterans and families in the community.”
ADS employees and others who would like to learn more, get involved or donate to Active Valor are encouraged to visit the organization’s website at ActiveValor.com