About the Veterans Heritage Project™
Veterans Heritage Project™ (VHP) connects students with veterans in their communities, offering students the opportunity to become immersed in one-on-one personal accounts of heroism and service to our Country, while learning life-long skills, developing a passion for history, writing and civics, and an appreciation of the freedoms which came through the sacrifices of those who have served our nation.
VHP is an after-school club or in-classroom course for 7th through 12th grade and college-level students that is tied to class curriculum such as English, Social Studies, Civics or History. Students are responsible for interviewing, writing and celebrating their veterans’ stories of military experience. They become published authors, by contributing their stories to VHP’s annual hard-covered books entitled Since You Asked™ and permanent audio-visual archiving at the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC. Students honor their veterans through their Chapter’s annual book signing celebration.
The mission of Veterans Heritage Project™ (VHP) is to Connect Students with Veterans™ in order to honor veterans, preserve America’s heritage, and develop future leaders. The unique educational experience and the veterans’ stories become a vehicle for student learning that motivates students to stay in school while preparing them for college and careers, and helping veterans heal.
Veterans Heritage Project™ qualifies new schools and select, train, and mentor VHP teacher-advisors; then coordinate, manage, and ensure the quality of the program that will connect new students with military veterans in their communities. VHP provides hands-on learning and to develop students’ appreciation for an America they will one day lead.
In 2004, VHP was founded by history teacher Barbara Hatch at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Arizona. In 2009, parents aware of the impact the program had on their students gathered to ask why this program was not in more schools. Within a few months, a business plan was laid out to capture Mrs. Hatch’s model and replicate it through pilot programs at other schools. In 2010, VHP set up pilots in 3 other schools, and then doubled that number the following year. By 2013, VHP numbered 11 chapters. Barbara Hatch retired from teaching to volunteer full-time as VHP’s Program Director. From 2014-2016 VHP grew to three SYA editions in 2014 and expanded to 20 chapters while publishing its 1,000th veteran story by 2015. In 2016, the 4th edition of Since You Asked was published and VHP contracted with Michelle DiMuro, an Arizona non-profit management and fundraising professional and Army brat, as its first Executive Director, all be it, part time. In 2016, VHP grew to 25 schools, and published 6 Editions of Since You Asked. In 2017 while reaching its 1,500th veteran story in the spring, VHP moved into its first office space and hired its first official staff: Michelle DiMuro as full-time Executive Director, and VHP Alumna, Brittany Henritze as part-time Program Coordinator. And, the story continues!
VHP’s Goal and Outcomes
Our goal is to become the model for immersive affective learning, which will set students on a constructive path towards knowledge, higher education, career and service to our communities and Nation.
• 100% of VHP students in our program graduate high school
• 95% of VHP students seek post-secondary education at either two and four-year colleges or universities, including military service academies.
• All students will participate in some form of service to our communities or civic engagement.
The Veterans Heritage Project – Civics in Action
The success of VHP is because it is accessible to all students—no matter their grades or socio-economic backgrounds; because it is cross-generational– military men and women from WWII to Afghanistan; and because it is exponential—touching schools, student and military families, local communities, and national audiences who welcome learning and honoring our American heritage and civic mindedness. The multiplier effect of this program has the potential to make a significant change in our young people and our Nation.
• VHP provides a foundation for learning that engages students in understanding their own democracy as it relates to local, regional and global issues. They become educated and informed, enabling them to become responsible and active citizens.
• For VHP students, history becomes more than names and dates to memorize. They hear stories from men and women who give personal accounts of their service and give “life” to textbook learning and classroom lectures.
• VHP students become leaders who inspire others around them. They model respect for service and patriotism, and accept challenge beyond the ordinary classroom.
The VHP Call to Action:
• Help set students on a constructive path towards knowledge, higher education, career and civic engagement.
• Connect Students with Veterans™ – Donate today