Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, Dec 05 2012 11:00 PM

A program that serves those who served us

By The Bakersfield Californian

Last month, Olivia Garcia wrote a column announcing the new Veterans Resource Center at the Beale Memorial Library and the consequent need for volunteers who can serve as veterans benefit coaches ("Beale Library seeks help for veterans center," Nov. 5). The response to that call was admirable.

The library was able to recruit 30 individuals who are willing to commit to several hours of training and to a minimum of two hours a week of volunteer time. These volunteers consist of retired educators, career counselors, mental health counselors, an academic librarian, a Realtor, a group home administrator, retired business owners and other professionals. Many of them are veterans themselves or have family members who are veterans. All of them believe that volunteering for the library's Veterans Resource Center is a golden opportunity to give back to the men and women who served our country.

Our volunteers are now ready to help. The Beale Memorial Library officially opens the one-on-one coaching sessions for veterans and their families this week. Acting as "first responders," the veterans benefit coaches will devote their time to listening and understanding the veterans' needs, helping them find the resources and information they need, and referring them to the proper agencies. This new library service is being done in partnership with CalVet and with funding from the Library Services and Technology Act grant.

To find out how you can get one-on-one benefits coaching, please contact Christopher Livingston, reference librarian, at 868-0721.

Maria Rutledge

Beale Memorial Library

Bakersfield

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