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Veterans groups unite to sponsor resource fair

OCEANSIDE — The VANC (Veterans Association of North County) and Veterans Assistance of San Diego recently teamed up to share the VANC building on Mission Avenue. On April 26 they co-sponsored the Wellness and Resource Fair as their first joint event.

“The event gave us a chance to work together closely, and spread awareness of the new partnership,” Dean Dauphinais, director of veterans services for Veterans Assistance of San Diego, a division of Interfaith Community Services, said.

More than 20 service providers and vendors were on hand to share information and get veterans, active duty, reserves and their families hooked up with services.

“It’s a mix of state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofits and service providers,” Dauphinais said.

Dauphinais said it’s beneficial to have services in one spot for walk-in questions.

“It’s always best to meet face to face with people,” he said. “You gain a lot in personal contact. When they’re right there in front of you you’re building rapport. They know we are here to help them.”

“We have a duty to them after they served for us.”

Yasmeen Brown, a Navy veteran, said she attended the resource fair to secure job leads.

There were also education, housing, health, veterans’ advocacy and wellness services on hand to benefit veterans and civilians.

“It is geared toward the active-duty military, veterans, their families and dependents,” Dauphinais said. “It’s also an opportunity for members of the public interested in what services are out there to come out and participate.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs had a booth set up, and was collecting paperwork on site. Tammy Fernandez, military service coordinator, said resource fairs help connect veterans with available services.

“It’s helpful to get information, when they don’t know what to ask,” Fernandez said. “We’re taking actual claim forms.”

The Employment Development Department (EDD) was also at the resource fair and ready to assist veterans.

“I encourage them to go to the (County Coastal) Career Center,” Steven Segobiano, EDD veterans employment representative, said.

Segobiano said after a general introduction of services, veterans receive one-on-one job counseling.

“We show them how to equate their skills with civilian jobs.”

Segobiano added veterans’ drive and dedication make them valued employees.

Dauphinais said he would like to see the resource fair expand next year.

Veterans Assistance of San Diego provides programs and connects veterans and their families with wellness resources.

Interfaith Community Services provides a wide range of food, housing, employment, social services and drug recovery programs.