Roxbury Resident Dedicated to Military Families

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Roxbury resident Kiana Robinson is pursuing her passion to improve the lives of veterans and their family members through the Wheelock College Military Counseling Certificate Program.

Robinson is a 2014 graduate of Wheelock College with bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy (JJYA). Wheelock’s Social Work program is based on an appreciation of the strengths, resiliency, and capacity for empowerment of clients. The JJYA program focuses exclusively on teens and their families. Robinson explored the challenges facing young people from multiple perspectives, and analyzed both individuals and broader societal trends.

(from left) Linda T. Sanford, visiting professor of Trauma-Informed Social Work, Kiana Robinson, and Dr. Shirley Malone-Fenner, Director of the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families
(from left) Linda T. Sanford, visiting professor of Trauma-Informed Social Work, Kiana Robinson, and Dr. Shirley Malone-Fenner, Director of the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families

Robinson decided to take the Certificate Program Military Counseling because she has two family members who have served in the military: her grandfather is a Vietnam Veteran and her brother is a Marine. She wanted to better understand military culture to connect with her family and also to expand her career path.

Over 2 million service members have been stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan over the past 13 years of the Global War on Terror. With the drawdown imminent, veterans are returning to our communities with unique experiences and needs. Wheelock’s certificate program prepares Post-Baccalaureate graduates to establish relationships with veterans and their family members in a culturally sensitive manner.

Robinson immersed herself into military life through guest speakers, readings, and discussions. The classes were designed to create a sense of belonging for all students, which is similar to the feeling that military servicemen and women experience as they serve.

Robinson found the coursework to be meaningful and inspiring. She had high praise for the instructors: Dr. Shirley Malone-Fenner, Director of the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families, and Linda T. Sanford, visiting professor of Trauma-Informed Social Work. With the knowledge she gained, Robinson was able to connect to her grandfather in deeper way and was able to suggest resources to help support him and her family.

“Kianna may have been the youngest of the participants but she brought a world of heart and experience,” said Professor Linda T. Sanford. “With her passion for social work, she will change a lot of minds about military veterans. Forty years after the war has ended, her family’s story is too common.”

With her experience, Robinson plans to volunteer in Veteran’s Affairs in the Boston area and hopes to find a position in which she can work with veteran families with a special focus on children.

Wheelock College’s Military Counseling Certificate Program is sponsored by the Wheelock College Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families and the Wheelock College Social Work Department. For more information, please visit wheelock.edu/military-certificate.