Lets be honest, does anyone remember how to find the values for x and y in quadratic equations? Do you still remember the names of all three Bronte sisters? And do you always know exactly when to use “it’s” versus “its” or “affect” versus “effect”? Yeah, me either.
Many veterans have a hard time returning home from active duty when facing the prospect of starting all over, especially in a college environment. Veterans Upward Bound is a non-profit organization aimed at helping veterans and soldiers who have been out of school for a number of years due to their service to our country and are trying to go back to college. They offer free catch up courses that allow our vets to brush up on the basic math and English skills that so many of us have forgotten over the years, improving their chances at testing well in college level placement tests.
As stated in a profile of the Veterans Upward Bound project by the Department of Education, “While VUB projects are expected to provide the core academic and support services offered by other Upward Bound projects, federal regulations also require a subset of services more specifically targeted to the needs of veterans.” These include “assistance in securing support services”, basic skills training for high school equivalency courses and “short-term remedial or refresher courses for veterans who have graduated from high school but delayed pursuing postsecondary education”.
Leroy Chavez, the Project director for VUB, took the time to answer a few questions for us.
How long has Upward Bound been around? (It is important to distinguish Veterans Upward Bound from Classic Upward Bound)
Upward Bound was the first TRIO program, and the classic, or original, Upward Bound Program (UB) remains the largest of the programs in terms of annual funding allocations. TRIO began with the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which authorized 18 pilot programs in 1965, and the program was expanded a year later to 220 projects.
What sparked the idea for Veterans Upward Bound
The Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program was instituted by the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1972. VUB was established as a priority project to meet the needs of veterans returning from the Viet Nam War. VUB was designed to provide an atmosphere on the nation’s college campuses that was conducive to these vets, thereby easing their transition back into civilian society. By the end of 1973 there were 68 VUB projects nationwide.
Where does the funding come from?
Funding for VUB and other TRIO programs is awarded through a competitive discretionary grants process administered by the US Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html
How have you helped veterans and their families?
VUB’s primary mission is to provide veterans a unique pre-collegiate experience designed to remove many apprehensions that some veterans, as non-traditional students, may have about entering postsecondary education. VUB also provides veterans, who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalency, an opportunity to prepare for the General Education Development test (GED). Ultimately, VUB prepares veterans to pursue their individual educational goals, whatever or wherever, those might be. Upon successful completion of the VUB Program, veterans are not only familiar with the services and resources that would be available to them as college students, more importantly they possess a renewed confidence in their academic abilities and they are more likely to complete a program of higher education and benefit from the opportunities of that credential.
What challenges do you face when trying to help veterans and their families?
Limited low-income housing and employment referral resources often create challenging situations for economically disadvantaged VUB participants. Many veterans who are dealing with personal circumstances resulting from homelessness or unemployment will find it difficult to fully benefit from VUB’s academic services. It is sometimes necessary to advise these veterans to postpone their participation in the program until their living and/or employment situation becomes more stable. How many people do you reach?
Each year, VUB projects are expected to serve a minimum of 120 eligible veterans. 48 Veterans Upward Bound projects are currently funded across the U.S., including Puerto Rico.
What are the biggest obstacles you face when trying to reach people?
Depending on the location and size of their assigned target areas, each project will have unique problems recruiting eligible veterans. Projects in urban areas often deal with veterans’ socioeconomic situations while many rural projects must develop methods to deliver their services to veterans over long distances.
How can our readers get involved?
Readers can advocate for an increase in VUB funding to serve more veterans nationwide. Currently, the VUB funding allocation is less than $14 million. Veterans in 19 states do not have a VUB program. One fourth of the 20 most heavily populated states do not have a VUB program. The 5 largest states, by veteran population (CA, TX, FL, NY, PA), have one VUB program each – these states have over 7 million veterans, however the VUB projects in those states are funded to serve only 600 veterans. Except for Puerto Rico, none of the U.S. territories have a VUB program; nor does the District of Columbia. And finally, 35 of the largest 50 U.S. cities do not have a VUB program in their areas.
[Also] our National Association of Veterans Upward Bound Project Personnel has a scholarship foundation. Each year we award at least 5 scholarships to our VUB program participants from across the country. NAVUBPP is a certified non-profit organization and if any of your readers might be interested in contributing to our scholarship fund it would be a tax deductible donation. To do so they should contact our Association Treasurer, Chris Chalko at (312) 341-6382 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
What message would you like to communicate to our readers?
Thanks for all your help!
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