Giving Back to Those Who Give Us Freedom

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In 2010, Mt. SAC launched a new program designed to assist veterans get reacquainted with civilian life as well as provide them a guide through the community college pipeline. With the green light from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Mt. SAC was able to start up a Veterans Resource Center right on campus.

The Veterans Resource Center is responsible for such programs as the Student Veterans of America and the Vet Success on Campus Program. The VRC is a safe haven where vets past and present are encouraged to take advantage of personalized services such as the vet lounge, vet computer stations, book loan and reserve programs, FAFSA and scholarship assistance, career counseling, and off-campus service referrals. Some of the on-campus resources for all vets include counseling and tutoring.  Childcare services are also offered for those who qualify through the California Pell Grant.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides the VRC with on and off-campus resources to best equip vets on their educational journey to assure they have assistance every step of the way.

Naomi Dibble, 31, psychology major, is a Navy vet who takes advantage of the many resources the VRC has to offer. She said that the VRC provides a space where she and her peers can feel safe as well as get away from the anxiety she faces as a mother of two and as a student. Dibble, who joined the Navy after her grandfather suffered a heart attack, met others who shared similar interests and experiences and helped her cope with certain feelings that those who are not vets may never understand. VRC career counseling helped her decide to pursue a psychology degree to help other vets through similar hardships she, herself, has experienced.

Dibble said she sometimes feels unappreciated for her military service. While on a walk home from the grocery store with friends one day, they began teasing her, throwing undisclosed items at her after spotting her Navy-related tattoo.

“I fought for their right to do that to me,” Dibble said she thought at the time. Thanks to the VRC, she had fellow service members who were able to console her and understand what she was going through.

Another significant program, the Vet Success on Campus Program, places VA-approved counselors who guide vets on how to properly set and achieve specific academic goals. Not only do counselors assist with academics, but they also help vets get back on their feet in the work force and assist them in finding life-long jobs.

Student veterans can also take part in Mt. SAC’s Student Veterans of American chapter. According to their website, The Student Veterans of America  provides awareness and advocates the importance of higher education to veterans. Their goal is to “have all veterans succeed in higher education, achieve academic goals and gain meaningful employment.”

Like many other colleges across the country, Mt. SAC has a veterans club that acts as a support group of peers for veterans on campus. Additionally, they regularly volunteer and help bring awareness to local veterans in need.

In addition to programs and resources, VRC also holds regular events on campus to show appreciation of the service all vets have provided for our country.  For example, a special commemoration is held annually for the Veteran’s Day holiday to shine light on vets who are currently attending Mt. SAC.

The Veterans Resource Center is located in building 9E in room 1310. Operating hours are Monday through Thursday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Fridays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, visit their page