School in Norwalk helps vets transition

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)– A school in Norwalk has a special way of reaching out to the men and women who have served our country.

Wednesday Norwalk Community college celebrated what has become its specialty over the years helping veterans transition back into the world of education and civilian life.

The college held a special program to help veterans find out more about the school and services they’ve earned by serving our country. Some of them transitioning from the battlefield to the classroom in just a few weeks.

“Some of them don’t want to be identified as veterans in the classroom, they want to just blend in with their peers. But they are often a little bit older, they have had experiences that their peers had not had. They just need a little extra help,” said Amy Kaplan, Vital Program Coordinator.

“I got out.  I wanted to start my education, use my GI bill. That’s what I’m doing. I plan on staying here for probably two semesters and then transferring over to UConn to get into the pharmacy program,” said Jordan Leonard, who served in the army 4 1/2 years and went to Iraq for a year.

vets community college

Brandon Arias was a medic in Afghanistan.

“This school is an absolute gem especially for veterans. They make it so easy for us to register and enroll in our GI bill, benefits, Ive been to other schools where I hand them a piece of paper from my unit or from the GI bill and they’re just like I don’t even know what to do with this,” said Arias.

“For some of the veterans it can be a very difficult transition. Not only to civilian,  but to academic life so really getting them in one on one and trying to encourage them to use the services we have here is really beneficial,” said Cathy Miller, Norwalk Community College Director of Counseling.

“There’s been a lot of help and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me here. It makes it so school is kind of easy you know,” said Arias.

Norwalk Community college also has a new partnership with the VA hospital in West Haven that lets them coordinate their health benefits right from the school.

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