Saint Leo University Participates in Pasco County Stand Down, October 24-26

October 21, 2014

Pasco County Stand Down 2014 will be held October 24-26 at Veterans Memorial Park in Hudson. Stand Down is a grassroots, community-based intervention program that helps the nation’s estimated 67,000 homeless veterans manage life on the streets. Stand Down began in San Diego, CA, in 1988 and, 25 years later, it has celebrated many successes with more than 200 similar events conducted each year nationwide. Pasco County Stand Down supports homeless and at-risk veterans in four counties – Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando.

The annual event provides these veterans with a broad range of highly needed services including food, clothing, medical/dental care, benefits advice, personal care, haircuts, entertainment, and mental health services. Stand Down is sponsored by many local public and private organizations, including Saint Leo University, which share a common vision of supporting these often forgotten veterans.

For this year’s event, a select group of current and former Saint Leo Master of Social Work (MSW) students, along with faculty, will offer supportive counseling to veterans. The MSW program involvement is part of an institution Service Learning Project that provides needed counseling for veterans while concurrently training newer social work clinicians in advanced, research-based counseling methods.

More than 125 veterans who are expected to participate in the Stand Down will be offered free, confidential, and supportive counseling services—the first time that such services are being offered at the event. Supervising Saint Leo MSW faculty will evaluate the effectiveness of using such service learning projects for teaching counseling skills to graduate social work students.

For more than 40 years, Saint Leo University has educated and proudly supported the U.S. military. In 1973 our institution began offering classes to military students at the Avon Park Bombing Range in Highlands Park, FL, and later that year on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. In the decades since, we have educated tens of thousands of active duty military, veterans, and their families. Today, the military comprises nearly one-third of our total enrollment of more than 16,000 students.

For more information about how you can help support the Pasco County Stand Down, visit http://pascostanddown.org.