On June 25, 2016, CAUSE partnered with the offices of US Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and US Congresswoman Judy Chu to host the 5th Annual Veterans Forum at the National Guard Armory in Azusa, CA.
Over 200 veterans and their families attended the forum. One main objective of the forum was to serve veterans and veteran dependents with pending claims or cases with the Veterans Administration (VA). During the forum, attendees had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with representatives of the VA Regional Offices to file new claims or receive status updates.
Additionally, breakout sessions were hosted and covered topics such as mental health, homelessness and education. CAUSE Veterans Initiative fellows put together a panel on education benefits to increase awareness of available resources.
Panel speakers included:
Garry Monji, Assistant Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs
Patricia D’Orange-Martin, Coordinator, Veterans Resource Center, Pasadena City College
Alberto Aranda, Masters Candidate, California State University, Los Angeles & US Marine Corps veteran
D’Orange-Martin encouraged veteran students to ask questions that are important to them, “If [counselors] don’t have the answer, we will help you get it.”
In his personal testimonial, Aranda shared the impact education has had on his life and his family. “Without these [benefits], I honestly wouldn’t be here today. This is very instrumental to me and also to my son…it’s very important that every veteran should utilize these services because it allows them to be successful,” encouraged Aranda.
CAUSE Veterans Initiative fellows also provided resources and information to veterans interested in civic engagement and community empowerment. Veterans Initiative fellows Wen Lin and Henry Chan encouraged attendees to become more involved with the program.
The forum marked the successful conclusion of this year’s Veterans Initiative program. We look forward to the continued involvement of this year’s Veterans Initiative graduates:
Henry Chan, Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps
Jonathan Kim, Ensign in the U.S. Navy
Wen Lin, Lieutenant the U.S. Navy