September 27, 2012

Military Child Education Coalition visits Yuma

Story by Cpl. Shelby Shields
Desert Warrior Staff

It’s no surprise military children live a much different and sometimes more stressful life than their civilian counterparts.

Approximately 40 participants attended a seminar by the Military Child Education Coalition at the Hilton Garden Inn Pivot Point Conference Center in Yuma, Ariz. Sept. 20 – 21 to address ways to assist military children with day-to-day stressors.

“It gives everyone involved more tools to help these kids make successful transitions and increase their resiliency,” said Dee Steel, a MCEC professional development trainer.

Members of the Marine Corps Air Station community, school liaison, family readiness officers, Child, Youth and Teen Program training specialists and Marine Corps Community Services representatives, came out in hopes of learning to better facilitate military children here in Yuma.

“Our kids lead a very different life than most kids,” said Angela Barber, the Marine Attack Squadron 311 family readiness officer and MCEC seminar attendee. “It gives us common ground as educators and an understanding of what our children go through.”

This particular seminar was organized and facilitated by the Yuma Proving Ground School Liaison officer with an open invitation to both military and civilian educators or anyone who may have an impact on a military child.

“We travel all over the world to any military installation that asks us to,” said Tanya Harencak, a MCEC professional development trainer. “It’s usually put together by the SLOs (school liaison officers) but is not limited to who is able to attend.”

The two-day seminar covers the many aspects and potential situations they might encounter while interacting with military children.

“There are so many differences and situations around the world and between services, we are constantly finding out new ways to help teach these educators about them,” added Harencak.

Some of the main focuses include discussing the roles of the three most important groups of people involved in a military child’s life: the students, the educators and, of course, the parents, as well as staying true to the program mantra “…for the sake of the child.”

“It’s what we want people to walk away from this training with,” said Harencak. “What can we do ‘for the sake of the child’? What can we to do care for, educate and keep them happy? We also want the parents to know we are here to help them, it’s a group effort and they are never alone. You know the saying ‘it takes a village…,’ well it is absolutely true, it takes the community to raise a child.”

For more information about how to help your child through difficult situations they may face as a military child, contact the school liaison officer, Elena McShane, at (928) 269-5373.

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