BENNINGTON >> Returning veterans can face many challenges, from mental health problems to financial issues.
The Community College of Vermont will be hosting a mobile veteran's assistance unit next week through a partnership that aims to provide veterans and their families any help they may need.
The Department of Veteran Affairs' Mobile Vet Center will be at the Bennington CCV campus at 324 Main St. on Monday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"For us, it felt like a natural partnership," said Jen Jennifer Garrett-Ostermiller, CCV's director of student services. She spoke of the institution's desire to support all members of the community.
The unit will offer information on VA services, counseling for veterans and military families, and referrals to community agencies.
CCV hopes that having the mobile unit locally will make it easier for veterans and their families who are looking for assistance, as there's significant drive time to the state's two veteran centers in White River Junction and South Burlington.
CCV, which has 12 locations around Vermont including Brattleboro, serves some 600 veterans, according to the college. The campuses don't have their own counseling services, Garrett-Ostermiller said, but instead refer students to community-based agencies which offer mental health services.
Mental health issues, she noted, could be one thing preventing a veteran from going back to school.
The 40-foot unit is one of 70 that drive across the country, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The fleet travels to communities to extend the VA's outreach, especially to those living in rural or remote communities.
Each unit is equipped with confidential counseling spaces and a state-of-the-art communications system that connects computers, phones and audio-visual equipment.
They've also been used for emergency response situations and come with medical exam tables, a defibrillator and other items useful in emergencies.
Hosting the mobile center is one way CCV helps veterans, according to Garrett-Ostermiller. The college has two veteran military advisors that work with students to provide individualized services.
The veteran's service team offers professional tutoring, career services and "smart pens" on loan, a tool that provides an audio recording synced with notes taken on special paper and allows the user to replay what the instructor has said. There's also Voodle, an online community for veteran and military students to share resources or ask questions.
In recognition of Veteran's Day, CCV is launching a yellow ribbon campaign to honor those who served in the military. Students and faculty at each location will get the chance to write a thank you note to those with past or present military service, she said.
For more information on the Mobile Vet Center, contact CCV Veteran Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979