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NYSID News Blog

May 6, 2015

NYSID Dedicates Battle Buddy Centers in Rockland, Westchester

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:12 pm

NYSID recently dedicated its newest Battle Buddy Centers at Rockland Community College (RCC), in collaboration with Jawonio, Inc., and Westchester Community College, in collaboration with AHRC New York City and American Maintenance.

NYSID and Jawonio, Inc. partnered in the opening of Rockland Community College's Battle Buddy Center (Photo courtesy of Collette Fournier, RCC)

Battle Buddy Centers are safe havens for veterans to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need. Based on the military concept of a “Battle Buddy,” which partners soldiers to assist each other both in and out of combat, Battle Buddy Centers offer activities to encourage camaraderie and foster veterans to provide mutual support.

Participants in the RCC Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony included: Andy Grosso, NYSID vice president, business development; Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach & communications specialist; James Haggerty, NYSID veterans’ consultant; Dr. Cliff L. Wood, RCC president; Jonathan Barnwell, RCC coordinator of veterans affairs; Michele Curtis, Karen Genua, Diana Hess and Sheri Muth from Jawonio; and RCC student veterans.

Participants in the Westchester Community College Battle Buddy Center dedication ceremony included: Paul Quirini and James Haggerty, from NYSID; Dr. Belinda S. Miles, Westchester Community College president; Joshua Gaccione, Westchester Community College veterans program administrator & VA certifying official; Michael Decker, Steve Towler, Salvador Moran and Wayne Thomas from AHRC New York City; Chris Alex, from American Maintenance; and Westchester Community College student veterans.

Pictured l-r: James Haggerty, NYSID veterans' consultant; Paul Quirini, NYSID outreach & communications specialist; and Dr. Belinda S. Miles, Westchester Community College president

“NYSID supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through our member agencies and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce,” Grosso said. “We recognize that creating educational and employment opportunities for service-disabled veterans and other New Yorkers who face barriers to employment is not only the right thing to do, it also improves our state’s economy and strengthens our communities.

“NYSID supports Rockland Community College and Westchester Community College in assisting veterans achieve success personally, academically and professionally. Based upon the current veteran population and the anticipated growth of veterans’ programs and services, NYSID is pleased to partner with Rockland Community College, Westchester Community College, Jawonio, Inc., AHRC New York City and American Maintenance in these Battle Buddy Centers.”

The Battle Buddy Centers will continue to enhance the student veteran experience at Rockland and Westchester community colleges by encouraging academic and personal achievement, providing information specific to their status as veterans, and creating a common ground for them to associate with one another.

“The new Battle Buddy Center is an on-campus home for our student veterans that allows them to interact with fellow vets, study, partake in social or recreational activities, or just relax in the sun-filled space,” Jonathan Barnwell said. “This repurposed room, a former greenhouse, underscores RCC’s commitment as a military-friendly campus.”

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers, at Rockland Community College and seven other locations, have collectively hosted more than 20,000 visits by veterans (Photo courtesy of Collette Fournier, RCC)

Rockland Community College is a 2014 Military Friendly School whose students have formed a Student Veterans Association for those who served on active duty, are in the Armed Forces, or Reservists. The Veterans Office at RCC provides multiple services to students who have served in the military or who are eligible for survivor’s benefits.

“Our student veterans are important to us and we are honored that NYSID has designated our Veterans Resource Lounge as a Battle Buddy Center,” Dr. Belinda S. Miles said. “Hundreds of veterans attend the college in order to help make their transition to civilian life easier. We are proud to be able to help them continue their education and we encourage them to reach their goals of contributing to the regional economy as productive members of the local workforce, just as they contributed to the well-being of all of us through their military service.”

Westchester Community College’s Veterans Resource Office is committed to providing veterans and reserve component personnel, as well as active duty, family members, and dependents, the support they need through a variety of programs and services, intended to make a seamless transition into the college environment.

NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers have collectively hosted more than 20,000 visits by veterans since September 2011. Battle Buddy Centers are made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from NYSID member agencies.

In addition to RCC and Westchester Community College, NYSID has participated in the opening of Battle Buddy Centers at the following six locations: John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City; SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury; Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson; SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge; Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; and Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango.

NYSID supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through a statewide network of 166 community rehabilitation agencies and private sector business partners and assists with veterans’ support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce.

 

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