Veterans Upward Bound: Success for Every Branch

Robert Hernandez shaking the hand of Veterans Upward Bound student John alongside Jennifer Kaufman.
Jared Libby

What do the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard all have in common? Servicemen and servicewomen who share a profound commitment to our country. Whether domestic or overseas, these men and women have bravely, and selflessly, placed the prosperity of our nation first. Perhaps an idea that is equally as courageous is their decision to pursue higher education after their time of service. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and receiving a whopping $1.9 million grant for the next five years, the Veterans Upward Bound Program (VUB) will continue to be a stepping stone for veterans who have always wanted to have a successful college career. Transitioning to civilian life after the military is no simple task, but the VUB team establishes a foundation that veterans can build upon.

Service with Gratitude

Sometimes the link of transitioning from military to civilian life can feel more expansive than the oceans our veterans cross to serve this country. It blurs the line between structure and the freedom of your own choices. Three square meals a day and place to rest your head is a privilege, when you come to think about it. Now, all of a sudden, they are in a position to take the opportunities that life has to offer, and just, can’t. VUB vocalizes the joy that is inherent in learning, and implementing goals for yourself, too.

The grant renewal is a welcome achievement for the team at VUB, and a reminder that the work they do makes all the difference in a struggling veteran’s life. The instruction veterans will receive is invaluable, preparing them to enroll in higher education through sharpening their knowledge in courses like math, English, and computer science. Advisement and assistance towards their college admission and enrollment steps is available thanks to instructors and staff who genuinely care and provide sound guidance to them.

Robert Hernandez, Director of the Veterans Upward Bound Program, is thrilled to support veterans marching to the beat of their own drum.

“They get ahead in their success if they spend time in the Veterans Upward Bound Program because we’re preparing them for success. We’re preparing them for not only access to college, but successfully completing their college goals,” he said.

More benefits of the VUB include access to other resources such as a study area, computer lab, student coffee lounge, and recurrent guest speakers featured with onsite veteran service providers. Individualized career assessment and planning is another advantage of the program’s many features. As Veterans Day quickly approaches, it’s comforting to know that programs like VUB exist, respecting and actively seeking to aid veterans in their educational and personal endeavors.

Adapting to “normal civilian life” can feel unfamiliar, and the combination of emotional, financial, academic and cultural obstacles facing veterans can sometimes appear insurmountable. That’s why Veterans Day is so significant, to show appreciation for those who sacrifice their minds and bodies to sustain the freedoms we treasure every day. This grant renewal is an alliance between veterans and VUB, and that life can go on after military service.

“I think that many veterans, although they don’t always expect it, they certainly would wish to be thanked and wish to be known for what that kind of service entailed,” Hernandez stated.

This Veterans Day, there are all sorts of activities to express your admiration for our veterans. Attend a Veterans Day event in your area, or donate to veteran-focused charities. Ask somebody about their service. Learning more about what their duty was can help you appropriately say, “Thank you.” Write a letter to a veteran, or visit the nearest VA hospital and spend some time with them. For our living veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces, VUB lives to guide and aid you in your academic ambitions, and citizens of this country are indebted to you. One team, one fight.

“What’s great is to see them at the end when they graduate from college. We have many success stories. They come and shake my hand and say, ‘Thank you, for what you did.’ ‘Oh, no. Thank you.’ We can’t do it without them,” Hernandez reflected.

For more information, contact the Veterans Upward Bound Program.