Carrie Farley, founding member of the Armed Forces Club at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, provided NYSID with an update on the Armed Forces Study Room. NYSID partnered with The Altamont Program, Inc. to open the room on November 15 as part of a day devoted to honoring veterans on the HVCC campus.
Named in memory of Carrie’s son, Staff Sergeant Derek Farley, who was killed in action in Afghanistan, the room provides a place of peace and intellectual enrichment for veterans, members of the armed forces and their families.
"To use the room, a student obtains a key at the front desk of the library. Typically, a student returns the key when leaving, but if there are other veterans using the room at the time, they keep the room open for others. The key for the Armed Forces Study Room was issued 31 times in November and 14 times in December, for a grand total of 45 times. Keep in mind that the fall semester ended December 14 and the spring semester just started January 22; I’ve created a sign-in sheet to place in the room to hopefully get more accurate data in the future.
"On January 3, I met with Amy Molloy from the Heroes at Home Program through Rensselaer County. She was impressed with our room and would like to offer our VA work study students and any other veterans Basic Mentor Training (BMT). We will ask participants to complete a volunteer application before taking the training; the application will provide us with basic demographic information and a better idea of who the participants are, but they will not be asked to commit to anything until they have completed the BMT. The BMT will consist primarily of three components: discussion about problems/concerns that veterans, service members and/or their families may encounter, particularly mental health issues; active listening skills and role-playing; and available community resources.
"There will be some discussion about the Peer Mentor Program, including process and procedures, such as intake and confidentiality; however, after the BMT, we will conduct interviews with participants to determine their level of interest in continuing on to serve as peer mentors. At that time, there will be a more involved discussion about the program. Additional trainings will be offered, such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a two-day intensive, best practices training program.
"On January 7, I attended a meeting with Dr. Drew Matonak, HVCC president; Linda Weiss, Albany Stratton VA Medical Center director; and Peter Potter, Albany Stratton VA Medical Center director of public affairs. I gave them a tour of the Armed Forces Study Room and explained our ideas and dreams for the future. They were very impressed and look forward to working with us by advertising the room on their website as a benefit for the veterans going to school here.
"Finally, I’ve made curtains to decorate the room, to give it a little touch of home!"
Be sure to visit NYSID’s "Our Veterans" link at http://www.nysid.org/Veterans.cfm for information on NYSID’s Battle Buddy Centers, quarterly Veterans’ Summits and Veterans Contact Directory.