An open-source social experience to help veterans to readjust to civilian life

We have been working on creating a social app for veterans to make the transition back into civilian life. We had three main goals. Passion. Purpose. Connection.

To achieve this we needed to create and app that gave Vets purpose. We decided to bring an interactive experience to real life. Vets can track their progress in completing "Missions", tasks that can be worked on daily that drive success in a new and unfamiliar environment. Tasks range from "Brush up your resume" to "Call and old friend to catch up". It is important to restore a sense of connection with the people in civilian life, with VESPARK its possible. In addition to missions, Veterans will be able to meet other members of the Military. Establishing connections is fun and a great way to feel welcome in an often lonely part of a veterans life. To help fuel connections on the platform, users can "Request a Mentor", where they will then appear in the Mentor Feed of other users in the country to reach out by message or connection request. Finally, we understand there are days that are harder than others. Sometimes all someone needs is a friend to talk to. We have created a "LifeLine" function to notify other users in the area, this will spark other users to reach out in help.

We definitely bit off a lot of a team pretty new to web and app development. We broke up the project into three parts. Each member had their own part: Backend (API), SDK (to be used by the app), and an Android app as a demo. We collaborated to ensure all of our pieces would work together when the time came. The internet problems hindered our ability to get started. It took from 1pm to almost 10pm to download Android Studio and the needed Android SDKs to get started. We took the time to plan our database structure and create a framework for our backend. We also started with a tutorial Android app module. We set up an Ubuntu EC2 instance on AWS to host our MongoDB and API Service. Ultimately we were unable to get a working demo. We have bits and pieces of the three parts that would need a few more hours to complete. We have the framework for success. This was a great, fun, learning experience.

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