New Booklet Helps Guard, Reserve Kids During Deployment
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 7, 2004 Separations can be tough on any child whose parent is deployed overseas -- but particularly for the estimated 500,000 sons and daughters of deployed National Guard and reserve troops, according to an expert on issues involving military families.
Many Guard and reserve families lack the tight-knit support network that helps active-component families during deployments, said Mary Keller, executive director of the Military Child Education Coalition. This can lead to difficulty adjusting to what Keller calls their "suddenly military" status. As a result, she said, they can feel isolated and unsure of where to turn for help.
A new Military Child Education Coalition booklet is chock-full of ideas to help communities reach out to reserve and Guard families during their family member's deployment. Keller said the coalition produced the booklet after repeated requests from military-family representatives, educators and community groups.
The 12-page brochure, "How Communities Can Support the Children and Families of Those Serving in the National Guard and Reserves," explains the dynamics of the deployment process in easy-to-understand language. It offers tips for educators and lists military and community resources for families of deployed troops.
Keller said the brochure serves as a companion guide to another popular coalition publication, "How to Prepare Our Children and Stay Involved in Their Education During Deployment." That guide is a favorite of first lady Laura Bush, whom Keller said has read from it during visits to military bases.
Both booklets reflect the courageous spirit Keller said children of deployed troops demonstrate every day. "Our goal is to help them through this transition in their lives and this period of separation," she said.
The publications and more information about the Military Child Education Coalition are posted on the coalition's Web site.