Marine Veteran

 More Than A Workout

Raised by a single mother, Jonathan Neves grew up in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. His mother's career relocated them to Los Angeles on a work visa. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles he enlisted in the US Army, serving eight years of active duty. After several years in the US Army, Jonathan deployed to Iraq.

After leaving the Army, Jonathan opted to go straight to school. He graduated with a degree in video game programming. Even with a new degree, Jonathan couldn’t find a job because he lacked professional gaming experience, so he started his own gaming company.  After developing games for six years with his company, he wanted to pursue a more financially lucrative position at a Los Angeles-based gaming company. 

Still challenged with a lack of professional experience, he did not get a job in his industry or any other industry: then he became homeless.  Services provided by the VA helped him get back on his feet. The VA referred him to the Hollywood Veterans Center for shelter and services. It gave Jonathan the much-needed resources to get his life back on track.

Through this transitional living home, he was introduced to Merging Vets and Players. At first, he thought MVP was a great place to get back in shape, and only that, but as the months passed, he spent more time with his fellow veterans. He realized that MVP was more than a place for veterans and former professional athletes to work out and share similar experiences, it was also a means to help him in his career by providing expert guidance, a safe place to talk about his professional frustrations, and referral services. Knowing Jonathan attended MVP often and needed some additional support, MVP gifted him his first suit ever for his job interviews. 

Jonathan's transition is still on-going. His time in the program at the Hollywood Veterans Center is ending and the Center will support him in finding permanent housing and continued services at the VA. He'll continue to attend MVP—knowing he is still going through transition—and will still need support from his peers. With the MVP peer support he has already received, he wants to help any new members seeking additional advice and guidance at MVP. His hope for the future is securing a career, to be respected and admired for his work, continue the physical and mental health lifestyle attributed to MVP, and to have the self-confidence to raise and support a family of his own in the future.