Raising Your Voices to Support Funding for Student Veterans!
Your voices have made a difference! This morning we presented a petition at City Hall with your 244 signatures in support of continuing funding by the NYC Council for the Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE) which currently serves student veterans on 10 CUNY campuses.
Council Member Chaim Deutsch, newly appointed this year as Chair of the NYC Council Veterans Committee, had set a review period for renewed funding for PROVE and other funding requests related to serving veterans. His office stated there would be "no promises" of continued funding for PROVE until a final decision could be made.
Your strong show of community support has truly made an impact! Last week we notified Council Member Deutsch's office that we were taking action by opening an online petition and joining CUNY in urging our community to send in letters and emails of support. In just a few short days, the number of signatures on our petition grew to 244, which was tracked by the Council as well as by our community. Thanks to everyone who took the time to sign our petition, write a letter or email, or make a phone call in support of PROVE.
This morning, Kristen and James delivered a paper copy of the petition, with the full names and addresses of each signer, to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Council Member Deutsch. The Council Member himself has been heavily engaged in budget-season pressers and meetings, but we were glad to meet with Tova on the steps of City Hall to present this petition. She expressed to us that each signature and message of support has truly been heard and emphasized clearly to Council Member Deutsch and the Veterans Committee that PROVE has broad support across the NYC veterans community.
We remain optimistic that this show of support has made PROVE a top priority for funding as the new city budget is finalized.
The text of the petition:
We, the undersigned, urge the NYC Council to continue funding the Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE) program.
Launched in 2007, PROVE has supported CUNY student veterans in their transition from the military to college, and it has trained graduate social work students in military cultural competency while developing their social work practice. PROVE is currently a valued resource on 10 CUNY campuses for student veterans in need of personalized, on-campus contact that provides social and emotional support and referrals, while helping them to accomplish their educational goals. Approximately 1/3 of student veterans on the CUNY campuses where PROVE operates have received assistance. Student veterans have described PROVE as essential to their personal and academic success.
We believe PROVE is an effective program that provides genuine support for our returning veterans as they strive to transition back to civilian life and advance their education and professional development. This is a worthy expenditure of public funds to serve those who have served our nation.
Thanks to the staff at CUNY and PROVE who have been proactive in raising this critical issue and collaborating with us on solutions. Thanks also to each and every person who took the time to sign our petition. We are encouraged that our community has indeed been heard by the NYC Council!