More than 50 College of Nursing students from UCF’s Cocoa campus are participating in the 18th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down event on Saturday, March 23 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on N. Fiske Avenue in Cocoa.

The students, along with their community nursing instructors, will provide vital health education and free screenings as part of the event’s volunteer medical and dental teams serving the homeless veterans in the area. This is the tenth year the UCF College of Nursing has participated in this important event.

“This is a very enriching learning experience for our students,” says Jackie LaManna, a nursing instructor and coordinator of the UCF College of Nursing Cocoa program. “Our students help where needed, including helping veterans fill out their client intake forms, triaging with faculty supervision veterans seeking medical care, and also escorting their assigned veterans around to the various stations, taking the time to engage in meaningful conversations and learning about their life and military experiences.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website, Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Stand Downs are collaborative events occurring across the United States, and coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the homeless.