Event to raise awareness on servicewomen, veterans

Unrest, Conflicts and WarDefenseVeterans AffairsColleges and UniversitiesIraqUnemployment BenefitsAfghanistan

Editor's note: This corrects the subhead by removing the word Afghanistan.

COSTA MESA — Vanguard University will mark International Women's Day on Monday with a campus event looking into issues unique to female veterans.

The private Christian university will present "Making Peace on Her Way Home From War," an evening symposium celebrating the service of female veterans and women still serving in the military and discussing the issues they face, said Brent Theobald, Vanguard's director of veterans affairs.

The event is aimed at female veterans, but anyone interested in learning more about the topic is invited.

"Most of the time, when people think of a veteran the image is a man … but we have a lot of women who serve," said Sandra Morgan, director of Vanguard's Global Center for Women & Justice.

The symposium will feature U.S. Army Chaplain Lisa Northway, who will share her experiences about being a woman in the military.

Female veterans face a higher rate of unemployment and issues with homelessness, Morgan said.

Although women are restricted from serving in certain combat positions, warfare has changed, said Theobald, a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are no longer the traditional front lines, he said.

"You might not be in a [combat] job, but you're in a camp that's getting mortared," he said.

Theobald said he can't speak on the issues that women face in the military, but he does know how difficult the transition from military to civilian life can be.

When Theobald completed his military service he said he felt isolated — feeling like wasn't fully connected with the community or the military.

"You essentially have an identity crisis," he said.

Navigating the world of higher education and figuring out benefits was also a struggle, he said.

During the symposium, Theobald will explain what resources Vanguard offers, including its yellow ribbon status that pledges to get veterans through college debt-free.

A firm believer in reinvention through education, Morgan said she hopes female veterans will learn about all the opportunities they have.

"I want more women veterans to come back to school and have a hope and dream for their future," she said.

If You Go

What: "Making Peace on Her Way Home From War," a symposium on female veterans

Where: Great Commission Hall at Vanguard University, 55 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa

When: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

Cost: Free

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