Veterans center opens in Fallbrook
Written by Pvt. Daniel Boothe Scout Staff
Pvt Daniel Boothe / Scout Staff
Bill G. Horn, supervisor, San Diego County, Fifth District, Speaks at the grand opening of the Southwest Veterans' Business Resource Center in Fallbrook, Nov 1. Horn presented the center with a proclamation recognizing the non-profit center for the services it provides.
Despite their efforts, government agencies only reach an estimated 25 percent of the 400,000 homeless veterans every year, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
After serving 26 years in the Marine Corps and retiring as a chief warrant officer, Albert R. Renteria, has founded a new veterans center in Fallbrook, and is taking a part of this national problem into his own hands with the hopes of supporting veterans throughout the nation.
“It is time to change what we have failed to do,” said Renteria, chief executive officer of the Southwestern Veterans Business Resource Center. “As communities we need to reach and support those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
The SVBRC’s grand opening took place in Fallbrook Nov. 1 and is the first of five Veterans’ Business Resource Centers across the nation. The organization plans to become the nation’s leading veterans’ resource center and provide world-class services to veterans anytime, anywhere, said Renteria.
Many groups exist to serve veterans, but none have empowered the community to take ownership, said Renteria. Awareness is what we will create, shaping the future of communities serving veterans.
“We are a resource for veterans to find out who they are; what they want to achieve; and how to get there,” said Frances A. Lowe, corporate community organizer, SVBRC. “Our goal is to develop a self-sufficient, confident veteran who can successfully transition back into society,” she added.
The organization’s cornerstone is a 14-level reintegration program offering stipends to veterans upon the completion of each level, said Lowe. The entire program takes an estimated 416 hours to complete and will pay participants up to $2,080.
Several programs and services are offered by the SVBRC including courses on reintegration, business entrepreneurship, electronic commerce and transitioning into the workforce. Topics of offered services include one-on-one job search assistance, resume building and earned benefit awareness.
The reintegration program’s curriculum requires veterans to set and accomplish personal goals as well as learn every benefit available to them. The organization has dedicated 500 square feet and several staff members to help veterans through the program, she added.
Veterans participating in the program are also required to initially sign the Learner’s Articles of Agreement. The nine articles act as a contract between the veteran and the resource center encouraging success, said Lowe.
The organization is not just giving handouts either, said Renteria. The SVBRC offers as much as it requires, working together to help every veteran help themselves.
“I am not asking you to honor the war, but always honor the warrior,” said Rep. Bob Filner, 51st Congressional District.
The non-profit organization has been in the making for eight years now and cost Renteria an estimated $15,000 to open. Renteria said that he hopes to collect donations after showing the impact the center can make.
“We as a nation have promised to honor those who serve,” said Filner. “Let us honor our heroes with our unwavering support.”
For additional information on how you can support the SWBRC, call (760) 468-1315 or log onto www.swvbrc.org.