Hopper Stories: A Future For Veterans Foundation
August 31, 2020
Hopper Reserve is proud to partner with A Future For Veterans Foundation (FVF), supporting their critical mission to provide education, resources and housing for Veterans in an effort to curtail Veteran suicide. FVF programming combines art therapy, cannabis, and conversation to de-stigmatize usage for Veterans.
We spoke with FVF founder Alex De La Campa about his work, our collaboration, and his ultimate vision for A Future For Veterans. Check out the conversation below!
Hopper Reserve: Hi Alex! Thanks for chatting today. Can you introduce yourself for those who may not be familiar with you or FVF?
Alex: Yes! I’m Alex De La Campa, member of Operation Educating Veterans about Cannabis and founder of A Future for Veterans Foundation.
HR: At Hopper Reserve, we believe in the power of art and conversation to de-stigmatize cannabis use. How does this align with FVF’s core purpose?
Alex: The core purpose of A Future for Vets is not to fix or heal military veterans, but to create space for the conditions of healing to occur. And we believe through de-stigmatization, normalization, re-education… Ideally all of the above, cannabis can be an extremely powerful tool to health, wellness and recovery. We align with Hopper Reserves belief that through art, community, and alternative healing modalities like cannabis, you begin to develop an extremely useful tool set that allows for healthy self expression and emotional processing to take place. Like Mr. Hopper himself, we acknowledge the rebel in all of us, and remain unconventional in our thinking and execution of our mission.
HR: What role do you see art playing in the lives of the veterans you work with?
Alex: As a disabled Navy veteran who still deals with emotional, physical, and social challenges from my injuries, the ability for art to develop my creative self-expression has helped me break down barriers among civilians and with other veterans. That’s why this partnership with Hopper Reserve is so powerful — Through a different way of thinking, strong community partnerships, and thoughtful education, we maximize the benefits that art + cannabis + community have as healing modalities.
HR: What issues in cannabis do you feel aren’t being discussed enough today?
Alex: One of the most important conversations in cannabis today is how corporate interest & excessive taxes abandon low-income patients and Veterans in need. We have to ask ourselves who and how do we want to benefit from cannabis legalization. Is this going to be a mechanism for collective healing and restorative justice; a medicine meant for patients and holistic wellbeing, or the newest market in which special interest groups can lobby to maximize profit at the sake of the plant and consumer.
HR: What is FVF’s approach to helping Vets process physical and mental stressors?
Alex: As a yoga instructor and advocate for housing as a human right, I believe secure housing and a trauma-informed approach to meeting individuals where they are at, goes a long way in helping people process their own physical and mental stressors. Veterans have all that they need to survive and thrive. Our job is to support them during the most critical parts of their reintegrative journeys.
HR: Can you share the work FVF is doing now on behalf of Veterans in California?
Alex: Since 2016 our policy and advocacy efforts at local & state levels have kept compassionate care a central part of cannabis programs, but the fight for affordable access never ends. Right now there is federal legislation being passed known as the MORE act (HR 3834) which attempts to legalize cannabis at the sake of the patients who fought for it. We will be involved in that conversation. Since COVID started, we have stuck to programming that allows us to balance community care and healthy social distancing measures. Namely, our hiking and virtual peer support groups.
HR: What’s your long-term vision for FVF?
Alex: My dream is to have the highest quality housing program with wrap around services to ensure Veterans not only survive, but thrive.
HR: Why do you think Dennis Hopper’s work continues to resonate with fans old and new alike?
Alex: I think that it is because he was courageous in his art and with his creativity. He not only embodied his roles, but I always found a sort of comic relief in how he seemed to understand the little contradictions his character could get away with on screen. Everything from Mario Bros., Easy Rider, Speed, True Grit. You never knew what face or movement he was going to make. He was special. A free spirit with devilish charm, committed to standing up for his beliefs and vision.
HR: Do you have a favorite Dennis Hopper film or character?
Alex: His role in Waterworld is still one of the best villains I have ever seen. There are so many iconic roles that he has played that I don’t think I will ever forget, but I don’t know if I would even remember that movie if it wasn’t for him. I will always remember him for the 110% that he gave to his films, that is what made him unique.
HR: We have many exciting announcements coming for Hopper Reserve x FVF this fall. But for any impatient civilians out there – how can regular folks get involved with FVF for volunteering or fundraising?