PALMDALE — Antelope Valley veterans have a new resource available to help them with the transition to civilian life.
Honorable Services Career Center conducted its opening ceremony Saturday, a nonprofit organization that will offer career development services, group support and life coaching for veterans of all services and eras.
“You served honorably and we’re here to serve you now,” Life Coach Sylvia Garner said.
The center is open for regular business beginning today.
The center is at 1334 East Palmdale Blvd., where visitors will find Wednesday night group support meetings, led by Garner’s husband Lindsey, himself a Marine Corps veteran.
“There’s nothing that’s off limits” during these sessions, Sylvia Garner said. “We want to help them be well-rounded.”
Administrator Octavia Brown will provide career development services, helping veterans identify their skills and interests then guiding them toward careers to best use both. Services include mock interviews, resume creation, and using social media and other outlets for “creating their brand” to appeal to potential employers, Brown said.
While the center does not have job placement services, they will help prepare veterans for the job market and to find where they may fit best.
“You’re helping them to understand who they are,” said Brown, who previously provided professional development services at Pepperdine University.
For many veterans, the skills they learned while in the service do not translate directly to the civilian job market. The goal is to identify the specific skills learned and match them to civilian job fields.
Those seeking to take part in their services are asked to call 661-527-5050 to schedule an appointment.
The monthly life coaching workshops are open to the public, not exclusively for veterans. The first workshop, from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 2, will focus on overcoming challenges.
Private life coach sessions also are available.
The center is a family affair for the Garners, who have been active in the community through Living Stone Cathedral of Worship in Sun Village, Pure Empowerment seminars and other organizations.
“We decided we really wanted to service the veterans community,” Sylvia Garner said.
That service began with helping the area’s homeless population, which includes a number of homeless veterans, she said.
They began developing what became Honorable Services Career Center about a year ago to address that need.
Among the continuing outreach to the homeless that will be sponsored through the center is the shoe box initiative. Started by Sylvia’s mother Mella Miles, they pack shoe boxes with hygiene items, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, toilet paper deodorant and the like, then deliver the boxes to the homeless.
Through the center, the program will take place monthly, she said.
Although the focus of the center is on veterans, the idea is to help better the community by aiding this subset.
“They are a part of the community,” Sylvia Garner said. “The Antelope Valley is a great place to live and we want to enhance it any way we can.”
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