Free workshops to help veterans transition to civilian life

Written by Muleskinner Staff

WARRENSBURG, Mo. – Military personnel who are making the transition from service to civilian life are encouraged to take advantage of free two-day workshops planned in October and November by the University of Central Missouri’s Office of Military and Veteran Services and the non-profit organization Return With Purpose, according to a press release.

The workshops are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18-19 in Ward Edwards 2030 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 15-16 in Elliott Student Union 237B. The sessions are geared toward active duty military personnel preparing to make the transition, veterans, guardsmen, reservists and military spouses.

Leading the workshops will be Greg Ganschaw, chief executive officer and founder of Return With Purpose, and Elaine Queathem, executive director. Ganschaw is a U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked with Fortune 500 companies to help employees and corporations to maximize their skills, abilities and productivity. Queathem has experience in operations, sales, business and international development. Both of them have teamed up to assist individuals who are transitioning from military service to civilian life, including family, work and community.

Return With Purpose will aid participants in preparing for the future by helping them understand how they can design a path to the life they want, identify and remove the barriers to changing their lives, realize their potential, find a new purpose in life helping other veterans, and develop an action plan to ensure success as a job seeker, student or family member.

The workshop’s curriculum was developed with input from psychologists and has been in use for more than 40 years. It is tailored to meet needs specific to military members and their families, and has been implemented by higher education institutions that include Stanford, Penn State, and Washington University, to name just a few.

Retired Master Sgt. Melanie Platt, who is also a student at UCM, was among the participants in a recent Return With Purpose program. She noted that what she learned will make it easier for her to meld her student, work and family lives together in a less stressful way.

“The seminar explained the way each of us think and gave us the tools to remove barriers that prevent us from achieving our goals,” Platt said. “By understanding how we think, we are able to adjust how we approach daily tasks, changing situations, and larger life challenges. It also teaches us how we affect our self- image and the impact, positive or negative, it has on the way others perceive us.”

Interested individuals must RSVP to Elaine Queathem at [email protected] by Oct. 4 for the October session and by Nov. 1 for the November session.  She can also address any questions related to the program by contacting her directly via email or by phone at 314-283-0006.  When making reservations, please advise her of your name, military status, if you are a UCM student, phone number and email address.

With limited seating, first preference will be given to UCM students who meet the aforementioned criteria, however, all interested individuals are encouraged to respond to Queathem for the potential opportunity to participate and to determine the need for additional sessions.

Anyone who wants to know more about educational opportunities available for active duty military personnel and veterans can contact Delilah Nichols, coordinator of the UCM Office of Military and Veteran Services, via email at [email protected] or call 660-543-8977.