(Santa Ana) - It’s an uphill battle for returning veterans as they transition to civilian life. For many Santa Ana College veteran students who are utilizing their veteran benefits to access higher education, the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) is the first place they turn. Last year, there were 502 veterans enrolled in classes at Santa Ana College.
To raise funds to provide needed services for these returning veterans, the college is hosting a Soldiers to Scholars Reception on Thursday, November 8 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Santora Building, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, 92701.
Among the college’s veteran students are 28-year-old Anthony Jianuzzi, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who was deployed twice to Iraq, and 26-year-old Roxy Barragan, a veteran of the U.S. Army with one deployment to Iraq. Both have turned to the VRC for assistance as they returned to civilian and college life.
Jianuzzi, who plans on majoring in English, has appreciated how easy accessing his veterans benefits has been with the VRC’s support. He says that the counselors there have helped him pinpoint the classes he should be taking and that the book stipends have been very beneficial. In addition to the VRC’s timely updates regarding benefits, he is grateful for the contact with other veterans. “We do help each other out,” he says.
For Barragan, who is majoring in criminal justice with the goal of becoming a probation officer, the VRC is the perfect advocate. “They reassured me that I had filled out my paperwork correctly so I could get my benefits. The VRC counselor helps me make sure that everything I am taking is going towards my criminal justice major so that I’m not wasting my time and my benefits. It would be a much harder transition to civilian and student life without the VRC,” she says.
The college’s Veteran Resource Center (VRC) provides the following services:
- Access to a Certifying Official to assist veterans with accessing Veterans Assistance (VA) educational benefits,
- Specialized academic counseling to develop educational plans to meet VA benefit requirements,
- Customized orientation and academic skills workshops for veterans, and
- Quiet study area with access to computers, the Internet and a printer.
Other programs and services available to veterans through the VRC include: priority registration, accommodations for veterans with disabilities, distance learning, Board of Governors fee waivers, in-state tuition waivers, access to the college's child development centers, work study/campus job opportunities, and health and wellness services.
The Soldiers to Scholars Reception will include live music, wine and food pairings, and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Reservations are available for $50 per person; corporate sponsorships are available for $5,000. The event is sponsored by Seville Construction Services. For more information, contact (714) 480-7450 or visit www.soldiers2scholars.org.
About the Rancho Santiago Community College District
The mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serve the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
# # #