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Aspire Center For Veterans Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Reported by Christopher Maue

Aspire Center in Old Town celebrated a significant milestone on Tuesday. The center, which celebrated its one year anniversary, is San Diego's first and only residential treatment center for young veterans suffering from brain injury and post-traumatic stress.

"We are serving the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, so we see primarily combat veterans," said the center's director Debbie Dominick. "We are also very focused on being able to treat PTSD and mild to traumatic brain injury."

Kierra Clemons was living in her truck and going to school before she enrolled in the program. She served eight years in the Marines but didn't have much of a safety net when she got out.

Clemons will soon be one of six women and 40 men to graduate from Aspire Center where the average stay is three to four months.

"They have transitioned back into independence," Dominick said. "They've reunited with their families, jobs, school. They're doing very well with their treatment here."

One veteran who graduated from the center said it gave him a distinct advantage because it limits the amount of people in the program so participants aren't overlooked.

"You learn more about the people that are getting treatment here than you ever would on an out-patient basis because you are really, truly living in the same environment," Dominick said.

Graduation is just one part of Aspire Center’s success. All graduates of the center have stable housing and almost half are employed or attending school.

This story is part of our American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration on in-depth military coverage with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Patriots Connection.


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