Head Of San Diego's Veterans Village Poised To Stand Down
After just 2½ years, the head of Veterans Village is stepping down Friday as president and CEO.
In 2017, Kim Mitchell represented a generational change for an organization founded in 1981 as the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego.
“I’m certainly honored to lead that change, that the board of directors had chosen me to be that first person to lead that much-needed change,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell is the first woman to run the nonprofit. A 17-year Navy veteran, she is also the first non-Vietnam veteran to run the group, though she had strong ties to the war. She was adopted from an orphanage in Da Nang, Vietnam by an American airman during the war.
She leaves an organization transforming itself from its initial mandate to serve returning Vietnam vets to focus increasingly on post-911 vets.
“It’s different from the way our older Vietnam veterans used to do things,” she said. “Yet the challenges of services may remain the same.”
The group created Stand Down, an intensive weekend-long encampment designed to connect homeless veterans with services. It inspired a national movement.
In San Diego, Veterans Village is now one of many organizations focused on getting veterans off the street. Last year, for the first time, Veterans Village began admitting a handful of non-veterans into its drug and alcohol treatment program, under an agreement with the county. Mitchell said she worked to find new funding.
“And having all of these new community partners come in,” she said, “some of them had never participated in Stand Down to provide services, it was amazing. So I think San Diego is still going to be Stand Down and it’s going to be needed.”
Still, she’s leaving after less than three years, taking a job with National University in Washington D.C, where she had been for the 12 years prior to coming to San Diego.
Mitchell will become the senior vice president of Military, Veterans and Government Affairs at the private, nonprofit university.
Veterans Village is now searching for a successor.