This month, GCC’s Veterans' Resource Center opened as a special place on campus for our returning soldiers to socialize, study and share information. Larry Meyer, the co-trustee of the Youssef and Kamel Mawardi Fund, authorized a grant for $12,000 to purchase computers, office furniture and other amenities to enhance the educational experience for our veterans.
Youssef K. Mawardi was an Egyptian immigrant who came to the United States as a young man and, through his hard work, established a successful psychiatry practice,” explains Meyer. “Late in life, he married Patricia Ball Mawardi. They had no children. Youssef passed away in 2000, and Patricia died in 2011, at which time the Fund, which honors Youssef and his father, Kamel, was established. Both Youssef and Patricia had a special interest in enabling people to reach their full potential in life, and the Fund's grants have focused on these types of projects - with the goal of helping people overcome challenging circumstances to achieve their dreams and better their lives.
“Grants from the Fund, and the Patricia Mawardi estate, have been used to provide bunk beds for transitional housing for battered women, furnish and provide ongoing expenses for a therapeutic learning and mobility center at a school for the blind, establish an annual vocational Rotary scholarship based on need, and support children’s programs and other assistance for the homeless to enable them to transition to permanent homes and jobs. Grants are currently being processed which, among other things, will open vistas of learning for inner-city students by funding music education and summer field camp programs, and provide assistance and counseling to assist students making college applications to obtain scholarships, loan and other financial assistance,” continues Meyer, who seeks programs that follow the Fund’s directive of empowering people to help themselves.
“I became aware of the project during the grant review process through my role as a Board Member of the Community Foundation of the Verdugos,” says Meyer. “I was particularly drawn to the facts that, of the more than 300 veterans attending GCC, only a portion were receiving or were even aware of, the full benefits to which they were entitled. With the growing veteran population at GCC, the need for a Veterans Resource Center was becoming even more critical. Moreover, I saw a real need to provide older students with a defined area they could call their own and would be dedicated to veteran-related services, which would foster after-class involvement with other students of similar ages with similar life experiences, and create a community feeling for older students.”
Meyer encourages our former soldiers to take advantage of the Center’s (already nicknamed “The Bunker”) amenities. “Besides a learning center,” says Meyer “I hope that the Center will provide a place for veterans to make friends on campus, feel at home at GCC, and just hang out and enjoy student life.”
Veterans Resource Center - Location AA-2, Hours: 8am - 4pm (Monday - Friday)