Veterans Resource Center is top program in state of California


Michael Ares

Engineering student and Veteran Chris Joly, signing up for the Long Beach Hospital program under the guidance of Nurse Case Manager, Michael Hall.

Michael Ares and Michael Ares

Recognized by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office as the best practicing veterans program in the state is the Cerritos College Veterans Resource Center Program.

The Veterans Resource Center is a program that Cerritos College offers to veterans with services that strive to ease their transition back into college life.

Veterans Resource Assistant Crystina Davila believes that the program is very effective because of the personal connection coming from the staff.

“I believe our program is really good because we have staff that genuinely care about the vets, mainly because most of us were vets or some of us are related to vets, and with that I think it allows us to better understand the needs of some of these vets,” she said.

Work study veteran Johanna Pena said, “There are many applications that veterans need to fill out, like applying for benefits and financial aid. Those types of things can be confusing, so the vets come to us to help them with the process.”

Veteran and Bio-Chemistry major John Quitiquit said, that he was fortunate enough to have found out about the Veterans Resource Center.

“When I first enrolled into Cerritos College, I was asked if I was a veteran. When I said yes, my attention was pointed to the Veterans Center. Ever since then, my life has been a lot easier especially with all of the new benefits that they have which caused me to transfer from Long Beach City College,” he said.

Some key benefits that have helped veterans like Quitiquit a great deal have been financial aid and student housing.

He said, “It (Veterans Resource center) has allowed me to go to school as a full time student, and it handles all of my living arrangements so that I don’t have to worry about anything and can just focus on my schooling and my future.”

Veterans Resource Center Director Nancy Montgomery, explained how the housing works.

“Transitioning from returning from the service to school can be challenging, so we have outside collaborating partners who, when we call them, can pick up the student and take them to the housing, providing a temporary place for them and setting them up with whatever they need to help them get on their feet.”

Veteran and Bio-Chemistry major Albert Hernandez, is very grateful for what the Veterans Resource Center has done for him.

“It really helped me out a lot with getting the classes that I needed. It allowed me to get priority registration which is a huge benefit,” he said.

The Veterans Resource Center also provides mental health counseling, as well as health benefits with ties to the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, dedicated to meet all of the needs of any Cerritos College veteran.

The Veterans Resource Center also introduces veterans to the Student Veterans Club, which is specifically designed for returning vets who do not know anyone at school, who want to meet and connect with other veterans and work together for volunteer work such as blood and food bank drives.