On September 11, 2018, the JFKU VALOR Center celebrated the opening of its new location on the Pleasant Hill campus. With the President, students, staff, and community members present, the Center looked toward a future of both enhanced veteran services within the University as well as greater outreach to the wider community.
For the past seven years, JFKU’s VALOR Center has been providing supportive services to armed forces veterans entering or re-entering higher education. The Center offers activities such as tutoring, mentoring, counseling, referrals to other services, and a dedicated space where veterans can study, receive services, and work together. The Center also hosts monthly Town Hall Meetings open to the community as well as an annual Frontline to Homefront event. As a result of the Center, JFK University has experienced an increase in graduation rates for veterans, higher job placement, lower unemployment, and higher retention rates.
With its recent relocation to a new and larger space on campus, the Center plans to extend and enhance its services both within and outside of the University. “We want to extend the services being offered to students in their transition but also extend these services to people out in the community who are not students,” explains VALOR Center Coordinator Noelle Morra. “This includes police and firefighters and other first responders that need assistance in dealing with trauma.” The Center’s annual Frontline to Homefront event, coming up on October 12th and focusing on transforming trauma, will be specifically geared toward this wider audience that, like veterans, also require the emotional skill building required to heal and grow in the wake of traumatic experiences.
In addition to expanding its work into the broader community, the VALOR Center looks forward to enhancing its services on campus. The larger space means that more students will be able to come in, relax, and use the space as a refuge for camaraderie and study. The Center also aims to conduct cultural training for faculty and staff and expand their staff to include a licensed therapist.
Although the VALOR Center recently reached the end of the term of a 3-year Department of Education grant, the University, in recognition of the Center’s importance and service to the community, has prioritized its embarking upon a new phase of expansion. What might have been an end is in fact, just the beginning. Check in with the VALOR Center to learn more about events, resources, transitions, and transformations.