Blue improving life through CCCC Veterans Upward Bound
SANFORD - A lot of time has passed since former Pfc. Brenda Diane Blue was medically discharged from the Army. She raised two children and has the added responsibility of caring for her mother.
Even though Blue held various jobs in the medical field as a Certified Nurse Assistant, now more than ever, she realizes the need for higher education. But how do you prepare yourself for the challenge when you've been out of the classroom for several years?
Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) at Central Carolina Community College is providing the answer for veterans. The VUB program was established by the U.S. Department of Education in the 1970s to help veterans complete a post-secondary education. The program provides free academic instruction in core subject areas such as math, English, literature, foreign language and science, as well as assistance applying for college admission and financial aid.
Although the DOE has been awarding the grants since 1972, Central Carolina Community College is the first North Carolina institution to receive the $1.23 million award. The grant provides $245,086 per year for five years to serve veterans residing in Chatham, Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Wake counties.
Blue said the reason she is taking advantage of the Veterans Upward Bound program is the support the program provides her. "It's helping me to get on my feet to get an entrance back into college," she said. "When you are young, you have your parents to push you to get an education, but now I have to push myself. This is not play time, this is serious. I want to get myself into a better financial position through education."
A total of 125 participants are enrolled in the VUB program at CCCC. Even though the program is offered at no charge to the veteran, he or she must expend the effort it takes to do well, Blue explained.
"I want to encourage vets to take advantage of this program because it is a great opportunity to get ahead," she said. "It takes work, but it is worth it. And the future of the VUB program at CCCC and other colleges depends on how successfully veterans complete the program."
The VUB program also assists veterans in obtaining services from locally available resources such as the Veterans Administration, state veterans agencies, veterans associations and other state and local agencies that serve veterans.
Academic Advisors Wilson Lester and Aaron Mabe encourage and motivate students in the development of their academic skills. They work with local veterans agencies, veterans medical centers, the Department of Work Solutions, the Department of Labor, and even North Carolina legislators to get the word out about the VUB program at CCCC.
"A lot is expected of us in this program," said Blue. "But the instructors are excellent. They make learning enjoyable, and what they do behind the scenes, like taking us to visit various colleges and helping us to obtain information about college, just reinforces the idea that it is possible to reach our dreams, that we don't have to stay where we are."
The Veterans Upward Bound program provides assessment and enhancement of basic skills through counseling, mentoring, tutoring and academic instruction in the core subject areas.
"I'm going to stay focused on my work in the program no matter what," Blue said with enthusiasm "Nothing is free. It takes work, diligent work, but that is what will help me get ahead in the world."
For more information on Central Carolina Community College's Veterans Upward Bound Program, contact the VUB Office at (919) 718-7463, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.cccc.edu/vub and fill out an interest form.
"The Veterans Upward Bound Program is seeking veteran applicants from Chatham, Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Wake counties," said Ashley Tittemore, CCCC director of TRIO Programs, which includes Veterans Upward Bound. "Any veteran interested in pursuing an education is invited to contact us."
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