Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation Provides Financial Support to UCSB Veterans Program
Leaders of the Student Veteran Organization, a group working with the UCSB Veterans Resource Center, help new and current student veterans develop networks of support and friendship as veterans transition from military service to college life.
UCSB’s Veterans Resource Center provides services and programs to a veteran and military community of about 100-120 students each year. It serves as a hub for student veterans transitioning from military service to an academic civilian life.
“Student veterans face a unique set of challenges upon entering college compared to a traditional first-year student,” said Kevin Hagedorn, UCSB Veteran and Military Services Coordinator. “They are usually older, transferring in as juniors, often have families of their own, may be returning with disabilities and receive no financial support from their family.”
To address some of these acute needs, the Veterans Resource Center also offers specialized support for veterans through career services, counseling and psychological services, courses for veterans, priority at university-owned housing, scholarship resources and crisis services. Moreover, the Center allows veterans to connect with one another.
“It’s hard for veterans to easily identify each other on campus as it is an ‘invisible identity,’” Hagedorn said. “The Center helps students meet and develop meaningful relationships with fellow veterans who can relate to their experiences.”
Hagedorn said PCVF has been instrumental in the success of UC Santa Barbara student veteran programs. The contribution was originally given in 2013 for the position he now holds, full-time Coordinator of Veteran and Military Services, which has allowed the Veterans Resource Center to develop and expand their programs with a multidisciplinary approach.
“As military service members transition to students, Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation is committed to ensuring that the men and women who have served our country are, in turn, able to access the services they need to achieve their educational goals,” said Hazel Blankenship, co-founder of PCVF. “Having an office dedicated to helping veteran students is critical to their success.”
In addition to supporting the Veterans Resource Center, PCVF also provides scholarships for veterans at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College who have exhausted their GI Bill benefits. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of educational benefits for those who qualify.
About Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation
Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have served in U.S. military efforts. PCVF does this by supporting veterans and active duty members in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as well as preserving military history and legacy. The Foundation is developing a Veterans Museum in downtown Santa Barbara as well as the “Wings of Honor” public art piece at the Santa Barbara Airport, both of which uphold Pierre Claeyssen’s vision to “Never Forget.” PCVF is funded entirely by private donations. For more information, visit www.pcvf.org or call (805) 259-4394.