Shelterforce article features Veterans Center

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Brad Lowry of Kankakee, an Air Force veteran, takes part in a KCC Veteran’s Association meeting in the college’s Veterans Center. Also shown is Kendra Souligne, one of the club advisors.

The KCC Veterans Center is featured in a new article on Shelterforce.org, an independent website covering community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.

The article, “Informal Gathering Spaces for Healing Community Trauma,” (Aug. 9, 2019) shares how the center was designed with veterans in mind.

“When student veterans have a place where they can go where others understand their experiences and challenges, they feel more at ease and are better able to concentrate on schoolwork,” said the author, Abena Asare.

Dr. Cari Stevenson is a KCC psychology professor and advisor of the college’s Veteran’s Association.

“Some people were wondering if we had a place only for veterans, would it isolate them [from the rest of the campus community] rather than make them feel more connected?” Stevenson said. “The life experience veterans have is so very different from the traditional student. Military culture is very prescriptive. [Active-duty service members] don’t have a lot of choices. Now they’re expected to know how to do everything.

“A dedicated space where veterans can hang out helps them to connect with people they know will understand them,” Stevenson said.

The other advisor of the Veteran’s Association is Kendra Souligne, who also works in the college’s financial aid office.

“Kendra helps veterans use and understand their educational benefits,” Stevenson said. “She is their first contact, and plays such a critical role. Her assistance really sets the stage for veterans to succeed. Kendra usually brings them to the Veterans Center very soon after she first meets them in financial aid area.”

Shelterforce’s article also described the PhotoVoice project, which supports veteran participants in efforts to build connectedness, community and conversation through photography. In Fall 2018, former KCC student Robert Perez was featured in a Movember Foundation article and video about PhotoVoice.

In addition to the Veterans Center, KCC offers a number of services for veterans, including a Veteran’s Association which is an approved chapter of Student Veterans of America​, and services offered through the Office of Financial Aid.

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