Admiral Akers School and R.J. Neutra Elementary on board Naval Air Station Lemoore have introduced Anchored4Life to their students for the 2017-18 school year; a club devised by the Trevor Romain Company, Anchored4Life, gives military children the tools and skills needed to manage the often-challenging process of transitioning schools and communities and braving deployment.
Anchored4Life targets elementary-aged youth and is designed to be student-led and flexible, allowing trained student team leaders to decide how they want to implement the program and what areas they’d like to focus on. The hope to this approach is that these students will be more invested in the club and use their leadership skills to reach out to new students, students who are moving, and those who are going through the deployment cycle. Currently there are more than 2 million children in the United States with a parent serving in the military.
“The concept is to have kids connect with kids and show empathy to their various circumstances,” said Akers Anchored4Life advisor Clare Huff.
With Carrier Air Wings (CVW) 11 and 17 presently deployed and CVW-2 and CVW-9 slated for deployment in 2018, Neutra’s Anchored4Life club has chosen to focus on helping students deal with the unique circumstances deployment presents. Children of those service members are invited to join the Deployment Club, where they can receive camaraderie and support from each other. They also receive a Deployment Kit from The Comfort Crew, a nonprofit organization that has teamed up with Anchored4Life.
“This club is extremely important due to the amount of parents who are constantly deploying in our community,” said Diana Chaney, the Anchored4Life adviser at Neutra. “The kids love it, and it is such a positive program for them.
Neutra will be handing out almost 60 Deployment Kits to students next week to help them prepare for their parents’ upcoming deployments.
In addition to using the Comfort Crew’s Deployment Kits, Akers School’s Anchored4Life club is also using its Welcome Kits for new students and Together Again Kits for students whose parents are returning from deployment. Team leaders are asked to reach out to students in every classroom and ask them to take on roles as crew members, whose job it is to buddy up with new students, show them around campus, and help introduce them to others. So far this year, their club has reached out to 70 students who are either new to the school or at some phase of the deployment cycle.
“Team leaders at both schools will be presented with additional areas of Anchored4Life they can implement during training at future meetings. They can review how things are going and decide if and when they are able to expand,” said NASL School Liaison Officer Margaret Gladders.
Information about signing up for Anchored4Life and Deployment Clubs can be obtained by contacting commands, command ombudsman, or via command pre-deployment meetings. Additional information can be acquired by emailing the School Liaison Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our goal is keeping the parent connected with the child, and the first step is signing them up,” said Gladders.
The program is paid for by the U.S. Navy and United Services Organization and is no cost to the schools aboard NASL.