My name is Olivia Parker and I am a rising junior at American University, studying Entrepreneurship for Social Change and Sustainability. My major reflects my big-picture goal in life, which is to help the planet and the people in it. Helping people can be done in many ways, and I have found myself in a slightly unusual path for a people person. I am a Research Specialist Intern at Code of Support Foundation (COSF) working on the development of PATRIOTlink™. Although this job is on the technical side, I knew the work that I do will touch hundreds of peoples’ lives for the better.

PATRIOTlink connects those service members, veterans and families (SMVF) that need help to those who offer it.  My role is to find the organizations across the country that offer assistance to all those who have served, profile them and input their organization into PATRIOTlink. The goal of the platform is to ease the difficulty veterans and those who aim to help SMVF experience when searching for adequate help, by doing the legwork for them.  PATRIOTlink will have all the resources a service member, veteran, or family member may need in one place, ready to serve those who have served us.

I wasn’t raised in a military family and it was never a topic of discussion around my school and friends. When I found COSF at my schools’ job fair, I didn’t know much about military life and the struggles and sacrifices they undertake everyday. Working here has established an understanding that the war doesn’t end for those who have served in it, and even if you don’t support the war, the troops need all the help they can get. Statistics alone will encourage you to do something. Everyday thousands of veterans endure homelessness or suffer through Post Traumatic Stress.  These issues are not partisan or political and they affect veterans and their families for a long time after they hang up their uniforms.

I couldn’t have told you why I chose to serve by interning at COSF when I started, but it is the simple fact that people need us that I do now.  I am proud to be interning for an organization like COSF.  The men and women who make up COSF have cultivated an extremely fun, caring and dedicated atmosphere to work in. Each of them has their own reason to serve and it is witnessed in their commitment to each other and to COSF.

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