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MCCC Expands Services to Veterans

3
/10/14


West Windsor, N.J. – MCCC has entered into an agreement with the Trenton Vet Center (located on the border with Ewing) to expand the services the college offers to military veterans. Therapist Teresa McArthur will be on the West Windsor campus every Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to advise veterans about issues they may be facing that are interfering with their success in college and in their personal lives. Services include counseling, outreach and referrals to community agencies.

McArthur explained the mission of the Vet Center at a recent information session for faculty and staff.  “Our mission is to understand and appreciate veterans’ war experiences while assisting them and their family members toward a successful post-war adjustment in their community,” she said.

McArthur observed that veterans re-entering civilian life often struggle with behaviors that can disrupt their learning in the classroom, such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty being in small rooms without windows, difficulty tolerating crowds, and difficulty having people standing or sitting behind them.

Therapist Teresa McArthur, of the Vet Center in Ewing, with Drew Daddio, MCCC's coordinator for Veterans Services.
 

“Instructors should be aware of what’s fueling these behaviors so they have an idea of how to diffuse situations in the moment, if necessary, as well as suggest where veterans can seek help,” McArthur said.
 
She notes that in too many cases, veterans become desperate enough to take their own lives.  “We are here to provide solutions so that they realize they have other alternatives,” she said.

By offering counseling right on campus, McArthur says she will be coming to the source.  “Sometimes it’s difficult for veterans to reach out.  We are making it easier for them to seek help.  They will be able to schedule appointments in advance.  There will also be time for walk-in conversations.”  All services are offered free of charge.

Drew Daddio, MCCC’s Veterans Services Coordinator, says that after serving in the Marines in Iraq, he found himself in college just a few short months after coming home.  “It was a challenging transition,” he recalls, adding that he hopes to provide MCCC vets with the kind of services that he wishes his own college had made available.

According to Daddio, there are 144 veterans at Mercer this semester receiving education benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, with many more who served but are pursuing their education independently.

McArthur stressed that the need for these services is expected to grow as military action in the Middle East winds down. "More and more veterans are likely to turn to community colleges as they seek to re-establish themselves in civilian life," she said. "We will be ready to serve them."

Students and staff are encouraged to contact Drew Daddio at 570-3240 for more information about MCCC’s new Vet Center services.   The Vet Center’s direct line is 1-800-905-4675, or, for crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 1-800-273-TALK.

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