CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Residents, veterans, public officials and more came together to celebrate as the Rockland Independent Living Center recently celebrated the fourth and fifth graduating classes of the Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program-Military Behavioral Health Training Program.
The mentoring program focuses on issues of post traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries and other disabling psychological or physical conditions that veterans face.
The ceremony, at Rockland Community College, included Rockland County Executive Ed Day; Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann, former Rockland Independent Living Center chief executive officer; State Sen.David Carlucci, Jonathan Barnwell, Rockland Community College coordinator of Veterans Affairs; Cliff Wood, president of Rockland Community College; and Rockland County Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Leitzes.
The goal of the program is to match veterans who have been through the training program with veterans who have returned from service so they can take steps to reduce or even eliminate the negative impact that trauma-related symptoms have on social, occupational and family functioning.
“Matching program graduates with veterans in need of support facilitates the healing process thanks to the immediate empathetic connection between both individuals,” stated Allen L. Hershman, and clinical coordinator for the Peer program. “While we can provide the training, it is their dedication to supporting other Vets and ‘leaving no man behind’ that really is at the heart of the success of this program."
Meetings are free, confidential, and provide veterans with a safe place to share in a non-judgmental setting. The program also offers services specific to women veterans and referrals for a variety of services. A total of 50 individuals have now been trained and local veterans are receiving assistance through the program. The program has also collaborated with other Dwyer programs across the state and is actively involved with Yellow Ribbon events.
Additional information about how to get involved can be found at www.rilc.org or by calling 845-624-1366.
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