QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – SUNY Adirondack announced this week that the college will be working with local counties to expand a program for residents who are veterans of military service. An existing peer-to-peer support program is set to grow by hiring a new coordinator, better compile clinical resources, and more.

The program, Adirondack Peer-to-Peer Support Services, helps veterans in Warren and Washington counties find support systems. The Warren County administrators who run the program are looking to expand what they offer, and have contracted with SUNY Adirondack to grow the program into something bigger.

“SUNY Adirondack has a long history of supporting student veterans, as well as providing a space for all veterans in the community to access services and support,” said SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy. “We look forward to providing the programs and services needed by our veterans and families in our community and thank the Warren County leadership for their trust in us to do so.”

SUNY Adirondack’s work with the program will include the hiring of a program coordinator, who will work at the campus Randalls Veteran Center and with veterans groups around both counties. The coordinator will create a list of veteran peers who are able and willing to give peer support to fellow veterans in need.

The college will also aid in compiling resources to connect veterans, and in implementing an engagement plan by building more communities for groups of veterans, and offering the services they need to transition to civilian life and address mental health needs. For many, that change is a huge challenge upon returning to home turf.

“Transitioning from military to civilian life can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome for veterans. To go from having a clear goal with a tight social support system in the form of fellow service members to having to find a new purpose, a new sense of meaning and belonging, is incredibly daunting and isolating,” said SUNY Adirondack Student Engagement & Diversity Initiative Director Taylor Testa, a U.S. Marine Corp. veteran. “This is even more complicated for veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The Dwyer Veterans Peer Support program is incredibly important in connecting veterans in our area with their peers and offering non-clinical services for PTSD and TBI. We look forward to partnering with Warren and Washington counties on this program and are excited to be the focal point for connecting veterans in our community.”