OSDRI partner awarded grant expansion to offer free college course for veterans

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that the Clemente Course in the Humanities is among its 2019 grant recipients awarding two grants totaling $198,930 to expand work in the NEH Dialogues on the Experience of War initiative. The grant will establish a two-year Clemente Veterans’ Initiative (CVI) in Providence in which Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) will be a key partner.

CVI was developed in 2014 to provide meaningful intellectual community to veterans who are struggling to adapt to civilian life. Providence’s first CVI class began in January 2019 as a 12-week program, also funded by the NEH and hosted by Trinity Reparatory Company. OSDRI’s Employment & Training Team has partnered with CVI to raise awareness and provide direction within the veteran landscape.

The CVI provides OSDRI the ability to provide a free college course for veteran clientele. The course will enroll 15 to 20 veterans taught by faculty from the University of Rhode Island and University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Veterans will study history, literature, philosophy, art history and writing/public speaking in a seminar setting.

The course will be offered free of charge. Books, child care and transportation assistance will also be provided at no cost. Transferable college credit will be available from Bard College.

“The Providence Clemente Veterans’ Initiative provides an amazing opportunity for our servicemen and women to learn about themselves and their peers through the historical lens of war, the humanities and the experience of transitioning from the battlefield to home,” said Tyrone Smith, Director of Employment & Housing at OSDRI. “A free college credit course provides a challenging and rewarding experience while eliminating costs.”

Dr. Mark Santow, History Department Chair at UMass-Dartmouth and a member of the

Providence School Board, will direct the course. He can be reached at marksantow@gmail.com,

and 401-480-6664. Interested veterans can apply online at https://clementecourse.org/aboutus/

veterans/providence-clemente

About Operation Stand Down Rhode Island

OSDRI is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and Rhode Island's primary nonprofit resource for homeless and at-risk veterans. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Johnston, OSDRI's mission is to help veterans secure stable housing, employment and basic human needs. OSDRI offers an array of services for veterans including a food pantry program, pro bono legal services, rental assistance and a robust employment program.

In addition, OSDRI has 88 units of housing for veterans spanning across the state from Woonsocket to Westerly. On average 2,000 veterans a year benefit from OSDRI’s services.

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