PC’s VRC offers more than resources for veterans, dependents

Across from the Veterans Monument at Porterville College is the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), one of the most important places on campus.

The VRC is a place where veterans, their spouses, and their dependents can come for a number of resources and a community.

“What we do is we provide a judgment-free area for students to come in,” PC program technician, Rachel Vallejo said. “They’re all veterans and dependents of veterans. So they all relate to each other, they share their stories.”

The center serves an average of 100 students with 80-90% being veterans and the rest being spouses or dependents.

“We help veterans here at PC,” Veteran Service Organization (VSO) president, Adam Silvey, said. “New incoming veterans (and) ones that have been here. We just make sure that they’ve got everything they need, the resources, to complete their educational goals. The lounge is a place for veterans and dependents to come, kick their feet up, relax a little bit.”

Silvey is an Army veteran in his second semester as VSO president. He said enjoys being president because it helps him feel like a part of a solution.

“I don’t think a lot of people know that the VSO, the Veterans Resource Center is here,” he said. “There’s so many veterans out there that don’t know if they have the capability to go back to school. Well, that’s what we’re here for. To make sure they’ve got a support system to get their education and complete their degree path or their education goal.”

Because of COVID-19, the VRC has moved all it does online. At the start of the semester, the VRC hosted a Lending Library and backpack drive-thru so students could pick up the books and items they’d need for classes. Counselor Maria Roman also helps students through Zoom with their educational plans and once a week students have an opportunity to check in with each other.

But what the VRC does for students goes beyond the PC campus.

During Christmas, they partner with Toys for Tots to give toys to children whose parents can’t be home because of their service. In the community, the VRC was a part of last year’s cleanup days at the lake and they always try to have a float in the Veterans Day Parade so they can let people know who they are.

“We try and be a part of the community, and try to get our name out there to let them know that there’s a huge support system here for veterans that want to come and continue their education,” Silvey said.

The VRC has plenty to offer but most importantly it’s somewhere students can come to feel safe and welcome.

“It’s just a family,” Veteran Service Organization president, Adam Silvey, said. “It’s a network. Once you walk in those doors, you’re stuck. You’re with us. You’re a vet, you’re a dependent. It doesn’t really matter cause you’ve got ties to us. And that’s what we’re here for.”

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