Mason Staff Eager to Provide Support for Military Families

Posted: May 23, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

After a year of planning, several Mason staff members joined together to create a Mason Military Outreach survey to gauge the interest of faculty, staff and students in organizing various services that address the needs of current students facing deployment and returning veterans to campus, as well as the needs of family and friends of service men and women who are currently deployed.

Stacey Remick-Simkins, program coordinator in the English Department, initiated the idea because of the number of staff and students who have opened up to her over the past year after seeing a picture of her stepson who was deployed to Iraq. Staff Senate members Janet Walker, work/life and communications coordinator, and Susan Kehoe-Laptew, benefits accountant, both in the Office of Human Resources and Payroll, are assisting her with the effort.

“There are so many walking wounded on our campus. The survey is going to help identify what kind of support Mason employees and students need and are looking for,” says Remick-Simkins. “We want the emphasis of these services to be on supporting people in an apolitical way.”

After reading about services offered to active military personnel by the George Mason Law School in the Marine Corps Times, Remick-Simkins began researching other services that might be available to Mason employees and students. A proposal of these services was then submitted to the Staff Senate.

Depending on what type of services employees and students need based on the results of the survey, HR plans to conduct seminars geared toward family issues, counseling and financial help. In addition, the Staff Senate hopes to organize a mentoring program in which faculty members who are veterans can assist students who are being deployed.

Programs will also be set up for people to share their experiences and show support for those members of the Mason community who are serving in or have served in the armed forces.

One of the most important services offered will be training programs for the faculty to learn how to assist students who have recently returned after being deployed and those who are facing deployment in the future.

“I’ve had several faculty members tell me that they don’t know how to help those students who are struggling with adjusting to life after the military. Some of these returning students have emotional issues they are trying to overcome, and faculty needs to know how to handle these issues,” says Remick-Simkins.

For more information about the Mason Military Outreach, contact Remick-Simkins at 703-993-1162. The survey, which should be completed by Wednesday, June 6, is online.

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