Illinois Women Veterans’ Fair

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs had its first ever women veterans fair at the College of DuPage.

During the free program, fifty social service agencies and other not-for-profits offered resources for everything from caregiving to business training for entrepreneurs to information on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The director said the event helped women with challenges they continue to face after having risked their lives in a predominantly male field.

“It is notoriously difficult to get women veterans out of the woodwork to tap into the resources in the community that is out there,” said Erica Borggeren, Director for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “And a lot of women, sadly – one in five – screen positive for some kind of military sexual trauma and that clearly creates some unique transition difficulties.”

“I believe that any event for any form of veteran, whether it’s male or female is the best thing we have going on,” said Chicago resident Octavia Mitchell. “Any additional information we can find out that will enhance our life and we can share with others is the best thing that we can do.”

The fair also gave women veterans a chance to network with each other and with those still serving. The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs hopes to plan more of these events, possibly one every six months, throughout the state.


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