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AmericaServes Community of Practice Scholarship Press Release

May 9th, 2018 – The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and its AmericaServes Leadership Team are pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural AmericaServes Community of Practice Scholarship, Ms. Cindy Williams, Shelter Director of Onslow Community Outreach, a provider in the NCServes-Coastal network, and Ms. Hannah Nezezon, of Legal Assistance WNY, a provider in the NYServes-Upstate network, who were both unanimously selected by the review committee as this year’s Marvin Freeman, Jr. scholarship winners.

This scholarship opportunity will assist AmericaServes Coordination Centers, providers, and partners across our national practice with participation in professional development opportunities. This initiative is part of Practice360, a community of practice effort that joins 11 states, 16 communities, and over 700 providers across the nation, all working collectively to better coordinate care for our nation’s veterans, service members and their families. The call for proposals brought forward an impressive pool of applicants, each who embodied the spirit of the scholarship named in honor of NCServes-Coastal, Care Coordinator, Marvin Freeman, Jr., a provider and advocate who was widely respected for his compassion and dedication serving area veteran families.

“It was an honor to review the applications of those who are truly passionate about positively impacting the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families.  Additionally, I was moved by the compassion and the commitment to professional growth by all of the applicants,” said James Gilchrest, scholarship committee member, and Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at the IVMF.

Cindy Williams of Onslow Community OutreachThe first recipient of the award was Cindy Williams of Onslow Community Outreach, a provider in the NCServes-Coastal network, who has been named the 2018 Marvin Freeman, Jr Spirit of Compassion Scholar.  They will use their scholarship to attend the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) and the KEY rental assistance program: Training and Bringing It Home: Ending Homelessness in NC. SOAR is a national program sponsored by SAMHSA to increase access to SSI/SSDI income supports.  SOAR also encourages employment as a means to increase individual income and promote recovery.  With this conference, homeless service providers will be united with national experts and local providers in an effort to share innovative practices for providing shelter and housing services in their community.

Ms. Hannah NezezonThe second scholarship was awarded to Ms. Hannah Nezezon, a provider in the NYServes-Upstate network. Hannah works for Legal Assistance of WNY and will serve as an AmericaServes Community of Practice Apprenticeship Scholar. According to Hannah, “AmericaServes has revolutionized how service providers can holistically care for our veterans and their families in our community. One of the greatest needs in our area is more representation at VA benefit appeals hearings and this scholarship is going to make it possible for me to attend a conference that focuses in-depth on advocacy at these hearings.  I am so grateful for this opportunity and that I get to work with such talented advocates through AmericaServes and the NYServes community”. Hannah will be attending the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (NOVA), which hosts a seminar for practitioners in veterans’ law teaching the basics utilizing the latest updates by the VA. Legal needs are widespread and diverse among the military-connected population; the best practices gleaned from this professional development opportunity will be shared with Coordination Centers and providers across the 16 AmericaServes networks and affiliate partners, all of whom are committed to advancing legal practitioners across the AmericaServes community of practice.

“We are honored to announce this year’s recipients of our inaugural professional development scholarship in Marvin’s name,” said Jim McDonough, Managing Director, IVMF. “Given that veteran homelessness is such a widespread and socially repugnant issue, we are thrilled to see a provider of homeless services from the very community where Marvin lived and worked as one of this year’s recipients, as well as a representative from one of our community-based legal services offerings.  Together, this pair of scholarship recipients reflects the compassion and spirit that Marvin was known for and we’re glad we can support their ongoing professional development.”

The scholarship will be given annually, and those interested in applying for the next round can check here for the latest information on the open application timeframe.


About AmericaServes
AmericaServes is the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans, transitioning service members, and their families. Administered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, AmericaServes’ vision is that every service member, veteran, and their family can easily access the full range of comprehensive services required to achieve their unique goals, and to provide a superior service experience to matching participants’ first-class military service.  For more information, visit and follow the AmericaServes on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families. Through its professional staff and experts, the IVMF delivers leading programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through collective impact efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care. The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit and follow the IVMF on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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