I’ve been emailing back and forth with Sybille White, our 2010 Mom Congress Delegate from Texas. I asked her what’s going right in education from where she sits and she’s excited to share her ideas and what she’s doing to help support military families. She would love to hear from any of you who are in military families and who have ideas about how you can come together and support each other. In her words:
Most Military families are faced with multiple challenges every 2 to 3 years. Moving our children to different school districts, states or even different countries is not easy.
I am currently working with the Fort Lewis community to get a very special group off the ground, the EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) Working Focus Group, that identifies issues for families that have a family member/members with disabilities (we have over 4000 in our military community) and as a group and with subject matter experts we WILL find a solution to solve issues.
This group identifies a broad range of global issues impacting Exceptional Families within the JBLM and Army Communities. We work collectively with senior leadership, medical personnel, community and DoD agencies to improve service delivery and quality of life.
Sybille is really excited about launching this group in April and knows it will benefit many families in her community. If you’d like more information about her efforts or are interested in starting a specialized group in your military community, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll put you in contact with her.
She also has several good insights about how all parents can get involved. Again, in her words:
Parental Engagement is absolutely necessary. My best advice is – find out what you’re passionate about and speak to other parents. Be the change you want to see in the world. If you’re passionate about early reading programs, volunteer and see if the local library would help organizing a special fun reading event, a great way to get the community involved. Invite PTA and parents for this fun day/night and be creative!!!
For middle and high schools, I always had a blast organizing a Youth Arts Festival (art,music,theater). Talking to your school's special events coordinator is a great way to get something started. It can be anything. Find what you are passionate about. Again, a great event to get the community involved.
If you’re passionate about P.E., health (school lunches) and fitness and want to share that with your child's school, find a local health club/fitness trainer that could do a "show and tell" on easy things we can do to prevent childhood obesity in class and at home.
School lunches - talk to your culinary arts schools or a dietitian to do a "show and tell" on what bad foods do to your body and what are healthy choices at home and in school. I know it is a funding issue but what a great project to work on in your school!!! This will take some effort to organize but it is well worth it.
If you’d like to help with kids that deal with deployment issues in school, donate coloring books (There are FREE books especially made for kids with deployed parents.). Volunteer your time. Read in after-school programs. The Red Cross is always willing to help to put you and your skills to use.
Like she said, find your passion and get involved. Every little bit helps!