In honor and recognition of Veteran’s Day and the service of our country’s veterans, Wheelock College has announced they will be opening its Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families today. Dedicated to the needs of Massachusetts service men and women, the center will help connect families to the support programs and assistance they need.

“There is a real problem when military families do not know about the many support services available to them or how they can utilize those services,” said Dr. Shirley Malone-Fenner, Wheelock’s dean of the School of Arts and Sciences who’s led the Center’s Development, in a press release. “We are trying to help make as many people as possible aware of existing resources.”

The College’s Counseling Center has already established a program for students connected with the military, and has plans to open up these counseling programs to children outside of the Wheelock community soon. As part of the Yellow Ribbon Transition Program, Wheelock will also begin offering workshops on reintegrating military members into communities, and will be offering veterans classes at Wheelock to aid in that process.

In partnership with the Military Child Education Coalition and the Massachusetts National Guard, Wheelock will expand care provider training programs to educate others on the unique issues faced by military families. The Career Planning Office at the College will also be working with the new Center to post job opportunities in military-related fields for aspiring teachers, social workers, child life specialists and psychology majors.

“Here at Wheelock, we want to extend our mission to improve the lives of children and families to include military-connected individuals,” said Jackie Jenkins-Scott, president of Wheelock College. “As more service men and women return home, every day more families will face an increasing amount of adjustment challenges. Our goal is to provide social, emotional and intellectual support amid great change.”

Students have been able to become more involved through the Center, with the launch this fall of a Military Engagement Program for Wheelock Jumpstart students at five centers in Dorchester and Roxbury. The program has been training 70 students participating in Wheelock’s Jumpstart program on how to address military family issues in preschool settings.

“As a member of a military family, and as a psychologist, I know first-hand that we need to make more people aware of the services available to them,” Dr. Malone-Fenner said. “We are trying to help care providers understand what the needs of military connected children are, and we are trying to make our students at Wheelock aware of the issues that affect military families.”

The College is currently seeking funders to help support the Center, so for anyone interested in volunteering their time or donating, please contact Dr. Malone-Fenner at smalone-fenner@wheelock.edu. Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone.