Updates from Johnson County Community College: Paving the way for veteran and military-affiliated students

Shawnee Mission Post Sponsor - December 10, 2018 10:00 am

At Johnson County Community College, we want all students to feel connected to each other, our campus, the community and beyond. That’s why we support programs like Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE).

Mentorship for America’s Heroes

PAVE is a nationally recognized mentor initiative for veterans created by the University of Michigan. It connects incoming student veterans with peer mentors, allowing them to learn the ins and outs of higher education.

According to Kena Zumalt, JCCC Veteran Services Coordinator, “People who serve our country come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, but they share a common experience. Because this program is about students working with students who have that shared understanding, it has a lot of credence.”

Zumalt adds that a goal of the PAVE program is to build a self-sustaining network for these individuals at JCCC and beyond, while informing the student body of military and veteran culture.

Our program launched in 2016. As one of only two community colleges in the country taking part, its impact has garnered attention. Recently, KCPT’s Coming Home campaign – a series that explores “what works” for veterans as they return to civilian life – featured PAVE as a shining example.

Donny Whitton, JCCC Veterans Services Assistant, says it best, “PAVE builds connections so America’s leaders can come home and be leaders in our community.”

Award-Winning Dedication

A program like PAVE is only as successful as the people who support it. Fortunately, team members like Zumalt and Whitton have the drive, dedication and vision to foster success – all of which has been noticed by the College and community.

Zumalt’s commitment to providing guidance to veterans is one of the many reasons she received the Individual Guardian Award 2018 from St. Michael’s Veterans Center, an organization dedicated to empowering veterans through a variety of services and programs.

“This was the first year for the awards. I was so humbled and honored to be selected,” said Zumalt. “I get to work with wonderful people and do good things every day, and I feel very blessed to be in the profession I am.”

In addition to focusing on the success of PAVE, Zumalt is responsible for running and staffing the Veteran and Military Student Resource Center, administrating the GI Bill program and creating programming, events, and activities for students, as well as advising the JCCC campus chapter of Student Veterans of America.

Connect with Us!

We invite you to learn more about our Resource Center and scholarship opportunities for veteran and military students. Want to come and see these advantages for yourself? Contact our team at [email protected] or 913-469-8500, ext. 4981.

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