Operation Entrepreneur program expands mental health training for student volunteers

June 12, 2019

Workshop facilitator Sherry Lachine with a student volunteer at the University of Regina

The Operation Entrepreneur program offers veterans and transitioning military members the training, tools and resources they need to build confidence, develop networks and start their own businesses.

Their signature program is a seven-day intensive business boot camp held on four university campuses during the summer months. At each boot camp, business student volunteers from each university play an important role. In addition to helping with logistics, they provide valuable one-on-one coaching to help participants advance their business plans and identify next steps.

Student volunteers from Dalhousie University working with veterans at boot camp

To equip students with tools to support positive mental health, we piloted a mental health first aid training program for volunteers in 2017. Last year, we expanded that training and introduced an in-person three-hour training session at each of the four boot camp locations.

Student volunteers from the University of Regina at the mental health first aid training

The interactive training, which is being repeated this summer, gives students a deeper insight into the challenges faced by those transitioning into the civilian world after years of service. The students – many of whom have had little or no interaction with veterans or the military community outside of volunteering for the program – gain an appreciation for their role in helping veterans transition to civilian life and are given valuable tools key to supporting their own and other’s positive mental health.

The training is run by Sherry Lachine, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran and owner of Broadmind, a social enterprise that focuses on community mental health.

Learn more about the Operation Entrepreneur program

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