Supporting Post-9/11 Veterans in Pursuing their Passions as Artists, Artisans and Creators
A LETTER FROM TORIE
Arms 2 Artisans is not just some random idea that I had one day; it is the cumulative result of being inspired by other Veterans and remembering what my own struggles were like when I left active duty. After I opened Backward Flag Brewing, I found a new passion for life and a new purpose for myself, but I never forgot how difficult that first transition was. When I would hear the stories of other Veterans that I met at the brewery or at festivals, I completely understood their struggles. When a Veteran would ask me for something to do at the brewery just to keep their hands and mind busy, I understood that too.
Almost any Veteran you speak to will tell you that two of the things they miss the most after leaving the military is a sense of purpose and the support of their peers. Arms 2 Artisans was created to offer both.
As a Veteran entrepreneur, people always ask me what skills or lessons I took away from my time in service. The cliche answer is usually something like “leadership, resilience and work ethic.” As useful as those things are – that is not what has stuck with me. What I carry with me today is the commitment, that we, as servicemembers, made to each other when we raised our hands and put on the uniform. We may all have joined for different reasons, but we all dedicated ourselves to the person to the left and right of us. That is a commitment that never ends, even after our contracts do.
Arms 2 Artisans is one of the ways that I continue to honor that commitment.
Turning the traditional post-service Veteran transition model on its ear, Arms 2 Artisan supports post-9/11 Veterans in pursuing their passions as artists, artisans and creators. To this end, we provide internship and mentorship opportunities, learning stipends, educational grants, scholarships and more. Arms 2 Artisans is helping veterans become brewers, master coffee roasters, authors, poets, filmmakers and even torcedores (cigar makers). More importantly, we provide Veterans with a sense of community and a peer-to-peer network of likeminded individuals, with common interests and shared experiences, to help the Veteran thrive, find fulfillment and a sense of purpose. Our values are firmly rooted in connection, collaboration, integrity, genuineness and simplicity.
Q: Who does A2A help?
A: A2A supports qualified post-9/11 Veterans who are interested in pursuing their passions in the arts or as creators.
Q: How does A2A help post-9/11 Veterans?
A: A2A helps qualified post-9/11 Veterans by offering paid internships, apprenticeships, workshops and/or certificate programs focused on the artistic or creative endeavor that stirs each Veteran’s passion. A2A also offers mentorships, guidance, entrepreneurial and peer-to-peer support to help the Veteran on his or her path.
Q: Can you help me find a paid internship/apprenticeship or other program?
A: Absolutely. A2A has an established network of Veteran run companies and programs in various artisanal/creative areas, including brewing, distilling, cigar rolling, writing, poetry and many more. If we don’t have a connection that suits you, there’s a really good chance we can find one. We’ll learn more about your needs and desires as we go through your application and counseling process.
Q: How much financial support can A2A provide?
A: We work with each Veteran in a way that is unique to them. Shorter programs, like workshops, are typically free to the Veteran. We may also be able to place you in a paid apprenticeship or internship for a pre-determined period of time. The length and amount of compensation for these programs vary on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, A2A can help subsidize educational programs, such as degree or certificate programs, through grants/scholarships. We can also offer financial assistance for Veteran owned businesses that are in-line with A2A’s mission.
Q: Am I qualified to receive A2A assistance?
A: A2A considers all types of Veterans for assistance. One qualifier is that you must be a Veteran who served after September 2001. Honorable discharge is obviously preferred, but we may consider other discharge types on a case by case basis.
Q: How do I apply for assistance?
Q: What is involved in the Veteran assistance application process?
A: You must submit a completed A2A application, which can be found here. If you are a Veteran-owned business requesting assistance, we will also need a copy of your business formation documents showing that your business is at least 51% Veteran-owned. Upon receipt and review of your application, we will request a copy of your DD-214 and any additional documentation we may need on a case by case basis. Once we have received all required documents, we will do our best to let you know if you have been approved within 14 calendar days.
Q: My business would like to bring on an A2A intern/apprentice. How does that work?
Q: How can I help support A2A?
A: Thank you for your interest in helping to support A2A. You can make donations here. If your business would like to make a grant or sponsor A2A, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Interested in Supporting A2A” in the subject line.