PROVE - Our History
In 2007 the program began after a conversation between Vietnam-era veteran Dr. Roger Sherwood, full-time faculty instructor at the Silberman School of Socialwork, Dean of Enrollment Management and Vietnam war veteran, Robert Ptachik and the Dean of Silberman School of Social Work Jackie Mondros. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were in their sixth year and CUNY began to see an greater increase of enrollment by older students departing the military. They decided that CUNY needed a program that helped ease the difficult transition from military service to civilian and college life. Additional support came from Wilfred Cotto, then the head of the CUNY Office of Veterans' Affairs (COVA), a retired Navy veteran.
PROVE's pilot program was implemented at Hunter College and John Jay College, with two graduate social work interns at each campus and one placement at COVA (supervised by Wilfred Cotto). At Hunter, Roger directly engaged one of the student veteran's Mariette Kalinowski to serve as the project's very first mentor. By 2008, Leora Shudofsky was hired on board as the Associate Project Director and PROVE gradually began a 10 year process of expansion to different CUNY campuses. At PROVE's height of expansion in Fall 2017, services are now offered to 10 separate CUNY Campuses (BCC, BMCC, LaGCC, Hostos, Hunter, John Jay, and QCC). On average the program served 1,200+ unique student veterans over the course of their academic school year.
November 11th 2016, our program Co-Director Leora Shudofsky (LMSW) testified at the City Council hearing. The purpose of this meeting was to evaluate services provided to student veterans on CUNY campuses and to discuss best practices for improvement. She highlighted the strengths and successes of PROVE, recommending that other CUNY colleges would benefit from implementing the model at the campus level.
In addition to providing direct services to CUNY student veterans' on campus, PROVE also offers training for service providers in Military Cultural Competency. Classes in 2017 are being hosted through COVA and lead by Katharine Bloeser, PhD, MSW.