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The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and University of Chicago's Veterans and Family Readiness Program hosted a Caregiver Forum on Sunday, May 29, 2022. The forum focused on the roles of caregivers, provided support to those in the role of caregiver, and service partners provided resources to the community.
Stephanie Kifowit proudly served her country in the United States Marine Corps, served the residents of the City of Aurora as Alderman for over nine years. Now, as full-time State Representative of the 84th District, she serves the residents of Aurora, Montgomery, Naperville, and Oswego. As a former financial advisor, Kifowit helped families make the best long-term decisions for their futures and she brings that experience to the State of Illinois.
Currently, Representative Kifowit is Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Chair of the State Government Administration Committee, and Vice Chair of the Appropriations/General Services Committee, and member of Revenue and Finance and Public Utilities Committees.
Representative Kifowit is a proud alumna of Northern Illinois University and graduated with a B.S. in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration. She is a wife and mother, who understands the struggles of working families. Stephanie and her husband Steve, an Army Veteran, have two children, Sabrina and Samuel. Samuel is on active duty serving in the United States Navy. The family is complete with Steve's daughter, Alexandria, her husband William and two grandchildren, William and Jonathan. After living in Aurora for 18 years, they currently reside in Oswego.
Theresa Coomer is an Illinois Fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. She cares for her husband Marcus, who sustained physical and mental wounds from his tour in Iraq in the early 2000’s. Through her work at the foundation, she has been a fierce advocate for her fellow caregivers to help expand resources and continue to get the support they need. Theresa is also an accomplished educator with Master’s in Educational Administration and Teacher Leadership. She also served as a member of the Paw Paw School Board. Together, Theresa and Marcus are the proud parents of two little ones Timmy and Violet.
Colleen Rose was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives and works in northern Virginia. She has a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University. Colleen is an Occupational Therapist, caregiver to her husband Master Sergeant Johnathan Rose, cancer survivor, new mom, military spouse, Elizabeth Dole Foundation Caregiver Fellow Alumna, advocate, and writer.
Kim Brown is an Elizabeth Dole Fellow alumnus for the state of CT. She has been a caregiver to her now ex-husband Chris for over a decade. Together they have 2 daughters, 6 and 7, who one day will become their father’s caregiver. Kim works for PayFlex leading their Veteran initiative. PayFlex has a strong commitment to serving the military and their families both past and presently serving. Chris’ military service and medical retirement opened her eyes to the struggles military families face from deployments to the effects post combat. Being able to support her daughters’ father and those he served alongside is so meaningful and important to her. “I want my daughters to know I am proud of their father and what he experienced was abnormal and his reaction to that is NORMAL”.
Katherine L Miller is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience providing services in diverse settings such as schools, community-based agencies, and correctional facilities. Katherine has been at the VA since 2015, first in the Homeless Program at Jesse Brown VAMC, then as a therapist in outpatient mental health and currently, Katherine coordinates the Program of General Caregiver Support Services in the Caregiver Support Program. As a family caregiver to a WW2 veteran, Katherine feels like her training and experiences have come full circle, giving her the opportunity to support caregivers of our nation’s heroes.
Angela L. Brooks is a Wife, Caregiver, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/Counselor and Dole Fellow Alumni (2017). I am also a former Teacher. Over the past twenty years, I have dedicated myself to studying and understanding the complexities of the human mind. My passion for learning is why people think and act the way they do has led me to wanting to make a difference in the world of mental health. As for my accomplishments, I’ve earned two master’s degrees in the arts and sciences from Capella University and University of Phoenix, and I took on a year-long internship where I observed a therapist working her magic with clients and changing lives for the better. In addition to my accomplishments, I have been awarded graciously for the work that I have done as an intern and student of the human mind. When it comes to my personal philosophy, I believe in one quote from Carl Jung (whom I studied!), “No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” This quote is how I look at the human mind - the human mind has parts considered to be ‘bad’ and ‘good’, and I believe I have enough experience to put this philosophy to use and heal human minds to the best of my ability.
The University of Chicago Veterans and Family Readiness Program
The University of Chicago is dedicated to supporting the families of veterans and military-affiliated students, faculty, and staff. The Office for Military-Affiliated Communities serves as a central resource for these families as they transition to joining the extended UChicago community. By providing guidance in a range of areas, the University can assist with maintaining personal and family well-being, assuring that military-affiliated members can thrive at the University.
Partnering with Blue Star Families, OMAC created the University of Chicago Veterans and Family Readiness Program. The Family Readiness Program is a support system of network agencies, programs, services, and individuals, that promote the readiness and quality of life of service members, veterans, and their families, as they pursue their educational or professional careers at the University of Chicago.
The Family Readiness Program stands ready to assist with:
Campus and community orientation;
Daycare and schools;
Employment and workforce-development;