Vets turn out for CCCC Veterans Upward Bound Appreciation Day
Wilson Lester (right) academic advisor for Central Carolina Community College's Veterans Upward Bo ... (more)
Michael Lanning (right), retired Air Force Gulf War veteran, now serves as the Junior Vice Command ... (more)
Former Army Human Resources specialist James Gott (second from left), of Carolina Trace, was among ... (more)
SANFORD - Veterans from United States wars dating back to the 1970s gathered for some fun, food and support at Central Carolina Community College's Veterans Upward Bound Appreciation Day.
Vets enrolled in the college's VUB program, as well as those who wanted to learn more about it, came to the July 10 family-friendly event at the college's Lee County Campus.
Former Sgt. Isaac Phillips, of Chapel Hill, was part of Operation Enduring Freedom and other operations during his 2009-2013 Army service. He had met Aaron Mabe, CCCC Veterans Upward Bound Academic Advisor, at a College Foundation of North Carolina seminar. Mabe told him about the college's VUB program and Phillips signed up. He plans to earn an Associate in Science degree, then transfer to a university for a degree in biomedical engineering.
"Veterans Upward Bound is very important," Phillips said. "The amount of resources they have and what they can point out are so much greater than anything an individual can have. It makes the college experience easier. I like the fact that they set up college interviews and visitations, helped me with filing my taxes, and other things. I love working with them."
The goal of the Veterans Upward Bound program at CCCC is to increase college attendance and success among veterans residing in Chatham, Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Wake counties. More than 87,000 veterans live in these counties. VUB provides well-rounded support to enable them to be successful in their future educational pursuits as well as to prepare for a career.
All services through the VUB program are free. It is funded by a five-year, $1.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The DOE has been awarding Veterans Upward Bound grants nationally since 1972, but this is the first one awarded to an institution in North Carolina.
CCCC administers the grant in the five-county area. It works with veterans in the college's service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties, and partners with Wake Technical Community College and Johnston Community College to provide services to eligible veterans in their counties.
VUB services include needs assessment, advising, academic instruction, career counseling, mentoring, tutoring, assistance with college application/admission, financial aid information, and more. It also provides stipends to veterans for their participation.
VUB also refers veterans to community, state and federal resources such as the Veterans Administration, state veterans agencies, veterans associations, and other state and local agencies such as NC Back-to-Work and the JobLink center.
"I see a real need for the services VUB offers," said Michael Lanning, of Erwin, who served in the Air Force from 1982 to 1994, including the Gulf War. Lanning, who is medically retired, serves as the volunteer Junior Vice Commander/Chapter Service Officer of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 74, in Erwin. He has an Associate in Arts degree from Gaskins College, but he's enrolling in computer classes at CCCC.
"Improving my computer skills will make me a better DAV officer," he said.
James Gott, of Carolina Trace, served four years in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg as a human resources and financial specialist. He enrolled at CCCC in the summer of 2013 and plans to earn an Associate in Arts degree and transfer to N.C. State University in industrial design or architecture.
"The Veterans Upward Bound advisors have kept contact with me though phone calls and emails that keep me informed and help me move forward to my goals," he said. "The program is a hub that has helped point me in the right direction."
Wearing his Vietnam War-era uniform, James Douglas, of Sanford, spoke with VUB Academic Advisor Wilson Lester, about enrolling in a computer class. Douglas, 70, is a 1971 graduate of W.B. Wicker School. His military enlistment included a one-year rotation in Vietnam.
"It's important that there be an outreach to veterans," Douglas said. "They defend our country, come home from war, and need all the help they can get. I plan to share what I learn today with others."
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