On April 27, 2018 Veteran Peer Specialist and Mission Continues Fellow Jessica Lopez was honored at an academic assembly at the College of Lake County for graduating with the highest honors. She will formally graduate on May 12 to receive an “Associates in Arts” Degree on her path to a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters and a Doctorate.
Lopez was recognized for “Academic Excellence in Social Work” for her 4.0 GPA. While studying at CLC, Jessica served as President of the Student Veterans Club after her tenure as Secretary of the club. “The club was important for me, post-military,” said Jessica. “After serving with the Marines in Okinawa for four years, I needed some help getting grounded and making friends,” she said. She hopes to eventually serve military families In a clinical social work capacity.
CLC’s Student Veterans Club hosted events such as the showing of “Almost Sunrise”, a film made by two Iraq Veterans who struggled with their return to civilian life and who eventually found peace after walking across America to raise awareness for Veterans like themselves. “We tried to bring people together,” Jessica said. “Especially Veterans and civilians. We just wanted to do big and little things to help others.”
While a student at CLC, Jessica joined “Mission Continues”, a national non-profit seeking to help Veterans reintegrate into civilian life through service to the community. For the past six months, she has led projects that included “Patriotic Painting Social”, an event sponsored by LCVFSF to bring people together in a creative, fun evening that produces very respectable artwork.
For the past 10 years, “Mission Continues” has helped thousands of post-911 Veterans find purpose at home by deploying them in their communities to improve educational resources, eliminate food deserts and mentor “at risk” youth.
The “Mission Continues” work involved 500 hours of service designed to make “ourselves and our communities better”, said Lopez. She completed the fellowship April 15th.
“Jessica is an exceptional young women who touches many people through our foundation,” said LCVFSF Founder and President Paul Baffico. “We are beyond elated that Jessica chose us to continue her service to our country.”