Steans Center > Egan Office > Our Work > Multi-faith Veterans Initiative

Multi-faith Veterans Initiative

Multi-Faith Veteran Initiative

The Multi-Faith Veteran Initiative, housed at DePaul University’s Egan Office for Urban Education & Community Partnerships (UECP) at the Steans Center, works to develop leadership, build capacity and create community circles within faith-based organizations to support veterans transitioning from military service.

The Project seeks to:

  • Integrate faith-based organizations and houses of worship into local networks of social service providers.
  • Raise awareness about community resources for Veterans and their families
  • Equip train and support those who are actively involved with faith-based and community – based organizations, to assist them in broadening the spectrum of local services for Veterans and their families within their respective communities.
  • Promote the active role of Veterans as valuable community assets.
  • Contribute to maximizing the use of resources and services currently available for Veterans and their families.

Current Projects:

  • Veterans Read: Veterans Read partners with Egan Schools to engage veterans, assist 3rd and 4th grade students in reading fluency and provide students with consistent mentorship. 
  • MVI Women's Wellness project: The Women's Wellness project engages female veterans transitioning from military service through community circles. These circles provide a platform for female veterans to connect with one another, creating a peer support group. 

MVI Community Partners

MVI Staff

George Rohde possesses a great appreciation for giving back to those less fortunate. Whether it is through his philanthropic desire to help others who are stricken with poverty or animals that have been abandoned, George relishes the time he spends making other people and animals’ lives better.

George Rohde

George pursued his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Journalism from DePaul University. During his studies, he served as a pivotal force in leading a digital media strategy firm in a senior communications management role. George returned to DePaul University to pursue his Master’s Degree in Education upon obtaining a teaching position in the College of Communications after pursuing a journalism career as an on-air news reporter in Tennessee.

George is currently pursuing his PhD in Higher Education at DePaul University. He is dedicating his doctoral work around the framework of empowering foster youth to attain a college degree and transition into adulthood successfully by providing mentorship, advocacy, and educational opportunities. In addition, George is working under the direction of Walidah Bennett to serve the Multi-faith Veterans Initiative. George is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Collie Club of America.

Joel Taboada served in the United States Army from 2003 – 2015. During his time in service he was deployed to multiple overseas hostile areas including multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Joel Taboada

After serving 12 years in the U.S. Army he returned home to pursue an education, give back to his community, and spend time with his family. He holds an Associate in Science degree from Morton College in Cicero, IL. And is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Network Engineering and Security at DePaul University. He also holds a certificate of Executive Education form the Chicago Management Institute at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Joel is currently a Community Veteran Coordinator for the Multi-Faith Veteran Initiative at DePaul University, where he works with faith and community leaders to help build veteran communities in our Chicago neighborhoods.

Previously Joel found the opportunity to help his community by mentoring Chicago’s youth in the Urban Warriors program. He found a way to speak and influence high-risk youth in the hopes of ending their involvement in the never-ending cycle of violence in Chicago. He believes that change can happen if we all take an active approach to care for each other and not sit by the sidelines. This is what prompted him to serve in the military and continue serving his country through work in the community.

Joel is very passionate about Veterans and their families. He helped in the founding of Green Card Veterans, an organization working towards ending the deportation of American military veterans. Having served in the armed forces with members who were permanent residents (green card holders), he knows the contributions and sacrifices they have made for this country.

For inquiries regarding MVI, please contact Walidah G. Bennett