June 16, 2015 --
To help military children adjust when their family members return home “after an extended absence,” two facilitators conducted a first-time training session for professionals aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, June 16.
More than 40 Albany, Georgia, area educators, public school administrators, principals, licensed professional and school counselors, social workers as well as other base and local professionals participated in the daylong training entitled, “The Journey from ‘Welcome Home’ to Now: Reunion, Reconnecting, Routine,” at the base’s Major S.P. “Swede” Hansen Officers’ Lounge.
This course, provided by the Military Child Education Coalition, teaches professionals, who support military-connected children and youth, the challenges and joys these children face during a time of reintegration following a family member’s return after an extended absence, according to MCEC's website, www.militarychild.org.
Following a welcome by Lt. Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, MCEC professional development trainers, Charlotte Adams-Graves and Jenny Cogbill, began the training.
“I know today will be an exceptional, educational training opportunity where our facilitators hope to shed some light on the military lifestyle and transitions our military children face day to day,” Carroll said. “The facilitation of this type of event is critical to our success and that of our families, specifically our military children.
“As the new installation commander, and even more importantly as a father, I appreciate each individual here and your commitment and involvement,” he added.
An Army spouse and mother, Adams-Graves stressed the importance of the training and hoped the participants “will be able to implement some programs to help with reconnecting children with their parents as they come back from any deployments or any missions they might have, reconnecting and (rebuilding) a routine.
“This is a logistics base and you have children in your community nobody has identified as related to this base because their parents might be retired or they may have grandparents who are retired, and I think it’s important to take care of children when they transition into the schools,” she emphasized.
Adams-Graves noted that one of the training’s learning outcomes — “Identify the importance of service and ‘giving back’ in the lives of children and youth as an impactful trait to develop” — is the most important one, because she hoped the participants would identify the services and resources that are available in the area to help military children.
Fellow facilitator, who’s an Army spouse and mother as well, Cogbill also stressed the significance of the professionals helping military children.
“They are serving a military community, and in particular military children, and I think it’s important for them to understand the specific challenges of being a military child,” Cogbill said. “(As military children,) it will affect them in school, in their friendships, in their relationships at home and in their overall development.
Military children need support services to help them with those transitions as well as with the transition of family members returning from deployments and training, she explained.
“We hope we can give them tidbits and nuggets of information to take back to the schools and in the community so they feel like they can be the best advocate for the kids and their needs as military (children),” Cogbill concluded. “We’re happy to see the outreach and interest in helping those military kids in your community.”
Latreesa Perryman, school liaison, Family Care Branch, MCLB Albany, helped orchestrate the MCEC facilitators’ visit here. She hoped attendees would learn from the training how to lessen some of the stressors military children face in academic settings and when service members return home.
“(The children are) happy they’re back, but being able to go back into the routine of things when they return is an adjustment,” Perryman said, adding she hoped the professionals, who work with military children, whether it’s in academic or health settings, would help them adjust because all children don’t experience the same emotions during a service member’s return.