With over 200,000 veterans in San Diego County, it is no secret that the Palomar College school district is home to many active, reservist, and former members of the military. Palomar College is a neighbor to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton and is near the multiple Marine Corps and Navy bases in San Diego.
The Veterans’ Resource Center at Palomar College has served not only veterans but their spouses and dependents as well since the 1970s. They offer help to students with processing education benefits awarded to them by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). They are made up of veterans, veteran dependents, and other military-affiliated persons. Another offering they have is resources such as counseling, study spaces, computer labs, free printing, resume building, and even veteran-to-veteran tutoring. The Vet Center also helps refer students to other services provided by the VA and other organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
“We’ve really tried to expand on those resources, so instead of just helping with paperwork we look at the student as a whole and figuring out what are some of the gaps and areas where students might not be succeeding,” said Supervisor of the Veterans’ Resource Center Jessica Horn who has been working at the Vet Center since leaving the Marine Corps in 2009. “This semester (fall 2022) we’ve been doing weekly ‘Chat and Chows,’ where we provide lunch and invite in an organization related to vets or from on campus to talk with students.”
Another issue that the Vet Center addresses and assists with is the process of transitioning out of the military. Veterans leave the military at very different parts of life, with some knowing what they want to do after getting out whether that be school or work. But some veterans leave the military without a plan and often have a hard time adjusting to civilian life because it can be challenging. Service members go from having structure in their lives with a chain of command and orders to then coming into the civilian world where they don’t have any clear responsibility. The Vet Center helps ensure that this transition goes smoothly for both veterans and their dependents. “Here our student workers get a crash course in transitioning to help people who from working active duty in the military or being the family member of someone who is. To then working in a civilian environment,” said Horn
The Veteran’s Resource Center is also set to soon open an extension of its offices after being awarded a grant from the University of Michigan. The purpose of the extension is being added to provide the Peer Advisors to Veterans Education (PAVE) program. Where veterans who have already attended college will help act as advisors and mentors to currently enrolled veterans.
“The message I always try to share is that we are here to help. So, for anyone who has anything military related that they need help with they can come here, and we can help connect the dots and get them the resources they need,” Horn said on what she wants the readers of The Telescope and students at Palomar to know.
You can learn more about the Veterans’ Resources Center here