Date of Publication



Introduction: Committee On Temporary Shelter (COTS) is a community organization that provides gateway housing opportunities to fourteen previously homeless veterans through its Canal Street program in Winooski, VT. Many of the residents struggle with physical fitness, poor nutrition, and mental illness, including PTSD. Research has shown that there is an increasing prevalence of overweight or obese veterans returning from service, and these individuals present a particular challenge to primary care physicians as their mental health issues are closely related to their level of fitness. It has been demonstrated that veterans often suffer from ingrained food insecurity, which negatively influences post-service eating behavior, and readjustment solutions are needed to ease reentry into civilian life. While literature recommendations exist outlining the important role of initiating easy-to-use exercise programs and the beneficial impact of exercise in a natural environment on veterans, there has been little research into more holistic approaches to improve the diminished quality of life impacting many individuals with PTSD. Recent literature shows decreased PTSD symptoms after a life skills intervention and that short-term nutritional education interventions have the capacity to favorably change eating behaviors in a low income population. Therefore, we decided that a comprehensive, yet personalized intervention was needed.


Jill Jemison, University of Vermont College of Medicine

Julia Paradiso, Committee on Temporary Shelter

Maggie Schwalbaum, Committee on Temporary Shelter


Committee on Temporary Shelter


Access to Health Services, Health-Related Quality of Life & Well-Being, Mental Health and Mental Disorders, Educational and Community-Based Programs

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

A Life Skills Toolkit: Curriculum Development for Sustainable Public Health Community Engagement