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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Area educators explore techniques to assist transitioning military children

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 6, 2015


Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Conference Center quickly filled with area educators, counselors, agency directors and other supporters, who convened to gain critical training on improving current methods of maximizing assistance to transitioning military children, Oct. 5.

Traveling from distances around the four corners of Southwest Georgia, a crowd of roughly 60 participants were welcomed to the Military Child Education Coalition training by MCLB Albany’s School Liaison Officer, Latreesa Perryman.

Perryman highlighted the purpose, some of the key points of interest and some advantages of conducting the full day of training scheduled for the group.

“The training today is entitled ‘Helping Our Military Children to Find Their S.P.A.R.C.,’" Perryman said. “The acronym S.P.A.R.C. stands for strengths, potential, aspirations, resourcefulness and confidence. We’re hoping with the trainers here today that people will leave with the knowledge and understanding of what it is our military children face and what they go through. Being the children of active-duty (service members) is tough. Children can move anywhere from six to nine times because their parents are in the military.

“We just wanted to come up with some innovative ways to try and help them throughout their school transitioning,” she continued. “The Military Child Education Coalition (facilitators) will do an excellent job on today in giving that information. It may be a refresher to some and new to others, but I hope there is a take-away that can be implemented in the various schools settings and community settings where they serve our military children.”

Commanding Officer, Col. James C. Carroll III, MCLB Albany, greeted conference participants and echoed Perryman by extending an official welcome to the installation.

“Good morning everyone and welcome to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,” the colonel said. “It may be a little damp outside, but I hope you’ll find warmth in our hospitality. As the commanding officer aboard the base, I think that it is vitally important – and nothing is more vitally important than our children’s education. Your presence here today speaks volumes to your caring and attention to our next generation, the future of our nation.

“Military children, unlike many other children, are dealing with many, many things as a result of their parents’ occupation,” Carroll continued. “As a parent of young adult children, (my wife) Sherry and I have been recipients of excellent facilitators throughout our 30-year history in the Marine Corps. Equipping our children to deal with those stressors, again, is very, very important. That’s why you’re here; helping our children do more than just get by, but (helping them) to become thriving, productive citizens in this great nation.

“I want to (again) welcome you to our base,” Carroll reemphasized. “I want to thank you for your attention, your time this morning and for coming out to share your expertise to help our military children.”

Facilitators Sally Patterson, master trainer, and Veronica Curtis Richie, professional development trainer, Military Child Education Coalition located in Harker Heights, Texas, presented a number of sessions on various techniques educators, parents and community partners can implement to assist military children.

“Today we are creating an awareness of gifts and processes that military children have and need to thrive,” Patterson said. “Military children face different types of complexities because of the services of their parents, but they still can thrive; they still can develop their strengths and they still can develop their full potential. That’s what this training is all about.”

The training duo engaged the attendees in a number of interactive activities, which were designed to invoke dialogue, brainstorming and teamwork.

One activity was entitled ‘PCS;’ Richie and Patterson allowed the participants to comfortably settle into seats at various tables around the room, usually with people from their respective school systems, offices or agencies. Once there, each was required to count off and move to a corresponding numbered table, thus separating them from their friends, colleagues and former table mates.

The moves, whether through permanent changes of station, and/or temporary deployments, gave attendees real-life scenarios simulating what transitioning military children experience with each relocation.

Other training exercises included: video clips; materials and information on how adults of military children can help them find their S.P.A.R.C. and develop it; the central elements of thriving and what makes children not just survive, but to reach their full potential; positive and negative mindsets and how adults can help children develop a mindset that tells them no matter where they go or how many times they move and no matter what military action is taking place, they can thrive.