Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

John Giordano

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to explore whether a post-military service organization builds community and ultimately improves the reintegration process for veterans. Transitioning from military service to civilian life is an inevitable shift that veterans often endure without ease. Significant attention has been paid to the mental and physical health, employment status, and family situation of OEF and OIF veterans, however there is a lack of focus on the role their own service on the home front can play in their successful reintegration. This study investigates the efficacy of Team Rubicon, an international disaster relief organization, as a community-building model between veterans and civilians, while asking whether veterans who engage in skills-based civic engagement transition better from military to civilian life. Specifically, a survey was distributed to Team Rubicon Region VI veterans. The survey data was utilized in order to identify participants for two focus groups. The qualitative data obtained from the focus groups was thematically analyzed and then triangulated with McMillan and Chavis’ (1986) sense of community framework. Several themes emerged that were consistent between both groups, as well as with the four elements that comprise McMillan and Chavis’ (1986) theory of sense of community: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection. These findings provide evidence of the efficacy of Team Rubicon as a community-building model and offer a basis for future research to explore this claim on a national scale.

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