Since 2011, the "Read to Succeed" program led by Dean Damon Nance has been igniting a passion for reading through its engaging series of book discussions, student panels, and author visits each fall and spring semester. This year, in collaboration with the Veterans Resources Center and the Men of Color program, "Read to Succeed" is thrilled to announce its latest book selection, Once a Warrior by Jake Wood.

Reflecting on the program’s impactful collaboration with Veterans in 2018, Damon Nance felt it was time to revisit this meaningful partnership. Once a Warrior delves into the identity struggles faced by military personnel as they transition to civilian life. The book follows a veteran who, in seeking a new purpose, inspires other Veterans to engage in disaster relief efforts, offering a sense of identity and community.

"The premise of Once a Warrior really resonated with me," Nance explains. "When you're in the military, you have a clear identity and purpose. But once you leave, that structure is gone, and many Veterans struggle to redefine themselves. This book shows how finding a new mission, like helping in disaster relief, can help Veterans rebuild their sense of self."

The program includes three exciting events, all taking place in CSS217:

Book Discussion: September 19, 2024, 12:50-1:50 pm

Student Panel: October 17, 2024, 12:50-1:50 pm

Meet the Author: November 21, 2024, 12:50-3:50 pm

These events provide a platform for Norco College students, Veterans, and community members to engage deeply with the book's themes, share their perspectives, and gain insights from the author himself. The discussions and panels aim to foster a sense of community and mutual understanding among participants.

Books are currently being distributed, and interested participants can still request a copy at Library 223 or by contacting Damon Nance. Send Email.

A few readers have already begun the book and have found it highly inspiring. Damon Nance welcomes book recommendations from the community, ensuring that the program remains dynamic and inclusive. “Anyone interested can make a referral,” he says, emphasizing the program’s openness to diverse literary interests.

One participant shared their early impressions: “The book is incredibly moving and thought-provoking. It really opened my eyes to the challenges Veterans face after leaving the military and the importance of having a supportive community.”

"Read to Succeed" was born out of Nance’s desire to inspire a love for reading among Norco College students. “We really want to make reading fun for everyone and learn at the same time. Get people interested in reading and have fun doing it together,” he states.

Nance’s initiative has created a supportive space where students can engage with literature in a meaningful way. “Students come back years later and share how it has impacted them. It is inspiring!” he adds.

Nance recalls the early days of the program: “The first time I stepped on campus, I saw students not enjoying reading some of their textbooks. I wanted to change that by creating an experience that not only made reading enjoyable but also provided a safe space for discussion. Over the years, it has become more than just an experience; it’s a community.”

Students and alumni frequently share stories of how "Read to Succeed" has influenced their academic and personal lives. The program has helped many discover a newfound appreciation for literature, improved their critical thinking skills, and provided a platform for meaningful conversations.

Integral to this year’s focus is the Veterans Resource Center at Norco College, which plays a crucial role in supporting student Veterans. The center provides essential resources, counseling, and a community space where Veterans can connect with one another, find academic support, and access services that facilitate their transition to civilian life. By partnering with the Veterans Resource Center, "Read to Succeed" aims to highlight the importance of such support systems in helping Veterans rediscover their identity and purpose after military service.

By collaborating with the Men of Color program this year, "Read to Succeed" underscores its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The partnership aims to highlight diverse voices and experiences, fostering a richer, more inclusive dialogue within the Norco College community.

“We are excited to partner with the Men of Color program this year,” says Nance. “This collaboration allows us to bring more diverse perspectives into our discussions and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.”

As we prepare for another season of engaging literary events, "Read to Succeed" invites everyone to join us in celebrating the power of books to inspire, educate, and unite. Whether you are a student, a Veteran, or a member of the broader community, there is a place for you in our discussions and panels.

For more information, book requests, or to suggest a book, visit Library 223 or contact Damon Nance. Send Email.