Fundraiser Provides Services for Student Veterans
(Santa Ana, CA)— As a youngster, Jeremiah Washington became fascinated with jet propulsion and anything to do with engine power. He dreamt about space and helping organize a trip to Mars. But it wasn’t until he got to Santa Ana College that he felt he could make that dream a reality.
Prior to enrolling in Santa Ana College (SAC) in fall 2016, the 26-year-old Santa Ana resident served in the U.S. Army for five years. During his active duty, he enjoyed his role as military police. After being stationed in Germany, he was deployed to Guantanamo for ten months. From 2015-2016, he served in the National Guard. After leaving the military, he gravitated to police work and applied to the Pomona Police Department. Unfortunately, once he started working for the Pomona Police Department, he was injured and knew that police work was not for him.
So, he took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled in another community college in Orange County. There, he felt lost. He didn’t know how to access the services that he needed. Fortunately, a friend told him about Santa Ana College and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC).
After registering at SAC, he came to the VRC and felt completely at home. He loved the environment and said that in addition to the awesome staff, he discovered veterans helping veterans.
“I am always in the VRC for the tutoring,” Washington said. “Everyone there speaks ‘veteran.’ I definitely feel more relaxed studying there than in the library and there is always someone who can help you with just about anything you need.”
Besides the tutoring services, he has benefited from the camaraderie of other veterans. He enjoys the get-togethers such as barbecues and going to off-campus events including “Man of La Mancha.” During finals week, there is always food and coffee available to help get through the stressful time.
Not only has the VRC provided Washington with a space where he could ease into life as a college student, but it has opened other doors as well. Now, he has his sights set on earning an associate degree in engineering at SAC. A $1,000 scholarship he was awarded has helped him achieve his academic goals. He hopes to transfer to UCI to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He enthusiastically recalls the VRC-sponsored trip to visit Stanford and Berkeley. After UCI, he would love to move on to Stanford to earn his master’s degree. In the future, he would love to land a job at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory or SpaceX.
“When I first got out of the Army, the journey of transitioning to civilian life was not easy. The SAC VRC helped me bridge the gap from the military to college. I owe much of my academic success to the VRC!”
To raise funds to provide needed services for veterans like Washington, Santa Ana College is hosting a Soldiers to Scholars Wine Tasting reception on Thursday, November 2 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Santora Building, 207 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
The Soldiers to Scholars event will include live music by the SAC Jazz Quartet, Spanish wine donated by Ronnie and Madeline Grant, complementary food pairings provided by Robbins Nest Wine Bar, beer donated by John Acuña and Rey Roblado, and non-alcoholic beverages. There will be a silent auction of photos taken by a former SAC student veteran Joseph Zamudio. He served in the U.S. Army prior to coming to Santa Ana College.
Reservations are available for $100 per person; corporate sponsorships range from $1,000 to $10,000. The SAC Veterans Resource Center receives generous support from U.S. Bank. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact (714) 564-6091 or visit www.sac.edu/soldiers2scholars
About Santa Ana College Veterans’ Resource Center
The Veterans Resource Center (VRD) was created to help incoming student veterans transition from soldiers to scholars. In addition, veterans, active duty, reservists, and their dependents are assisted with accessing their VA education benefits when pursuing an eligible AA/AS, certificate, or transfer program for a BA/BS. The VRC also directs students to campus and community resources that would help them succeed in their educational goals. Services provided include: help accessing GI Bill benefits, specialized academic and vocational rehabilitation counseling, assistance in filling out financial aid applications, graphing calculator and book loan programs, access to the Veterans Upward Bound college preparation program, access to tutors, VRC events, a quiet space to do homework and access to a printer, and more. Visit www.sac.edu/vrc to learn more.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit www.sac.edu to learn more.
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