Spring Game Benefits Warrior-Scholar Project

Reising's Efforts Still Visible at Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – When Jesse Reising '11 put a big hit on an opponent, he would hold out a hand to help the fallen player return to his feet. The former Yale football linebacker - who required help for his own recovery from a big hit - is still helping people get back on their feet, but in a much more significant manner.

Reising, who planned on serving in the U.S. Military before a serious injury in the 2010 Yale season finale, is serving his country in an equally impactful way. The former Elis star has partnered with Nick Rugoff '11 and Chris Howell '14 to help veterans transition from combat to college. This initiative, called "Operation Opportunity: Warrior-Scholar Project" will be on display at the April 21 Yale Football Blue-White Game. Fans attending the 2:00 game at Yale Bowl that day can contribute to this project.

Funds raised go directly toward funding the Warrior-Scholar Project, a workshop hosted at Yale University from June 3-10 to help veterans transition from combat to college.

Returning veterans are often faced with the daunting reality that they are unprepared for life outside the military. Veterans transitioning to college likely have not used academic skills since high school and have difficulties adjusting to an unfamiliar and fundamentally different social environment. Unfortunately, these challenges often lead to veterans dropping out of college before earning their degree.

"Our football program is honored to have the opportunity to help Jesse and Operation Opportunity.  We are building a program based on tough, physical play with the ability to handle adversity under any and all circumstances," said Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football.  "There is no better group of men and women to be associated with that share these same ideals.  I hope we can give to Jesse and the men and women of the armed services as much as they have given to us to protect our freedom."

The Warrior-Scholar Project not only teaches returning veterans the skills to overcome these challenges and earn their degree, but also to thrive in their new environment and become a valuable addition to the classroom.  Participating veterans attend courses and discussions led by current Yale student-veterans and professors on topics including:

  • Academic reading and writing
  • Adapting to changed social circumstances
  • Translating skills used and acquired in the military to the college environment
  • Overcoming and embracing many other challenges that are inevitably confronted by non-traditional college students, especially veterans.

The following Yale faculty will participate in the project: Charles Hill (International Studies), John Lewis Gaddis (Political Science), Donald Kagan (Classics, History) and Michael Fotos (Political Science).

Here are some samples of Warriors who will take advantage of this opportunity:

  • Misha Pemble-Belkin: Unintended star of Sebastian Junger's book "War and Documentary, Restrepo"
  • David Carrell: Plans to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree and become a PTSD counselor
  • Michael Hall: Plans to earn a bachelor's degree and ultimately join the NYPD.

One veteran can be sponsored for $1,000, which covers all of the expenses (study materials, accommodation, transportation) to allow him/her to participate in the workshop.

Reising, after being disqualified from military service, joined forces with his classmate, Rugoff, and Howell, a nine-year veteran of the Australian Army who is president of Yale's Eli Whitney Students' Association.

For more information on the Warrior-Scholar Project, email info@operationopportunity.org or call 217.520.3100. Show your support at www.operationopportunity.org/donate.

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