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Yuma air station schools local teachers on challenges of Corps’ kids

By Cpl. Graham J. Benson | | August 19, 2010

Educators from three local schools received training from the Corps in hopes of bettering their understanding of the challenges military children and families face and the resources available to them on station, Aug. 11-13, 2010.

Teachers, administrators and other faculty at Woodard Middle School, Palmcroft Elementary School and Desert Mesa Elementary School were the first to participate in the LINKS for Teachers program.

 Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills, which is developed and taught by Marine Corps Family Team Building personnel primarily to active duty Marines and their families, gives its participants an in-depth introduction to the various family services provided at Marine Corps installations.

 “This is the first time this has been tried,” said Elena McShane, station school liaison. “It’s so important to ensure our local teachers are aware of all the ways that families can get help for a variety of issues, right here on station. This training definitely goes a long way toward opening up that line of communication.”

The course instructors highlight a variety of common challenges military families encounter, such as frequent moves and school changes and regular separation from deployed family members.

The LINKS for Teachers team also included an active duty Marine to help give the teachers a better understanding of why some Marine parents may act the way they do.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to turn the switch from dealing with Marines during work to dealing with civilians in our personal lives,” Maj. John Burgess, LINKS for Teachers volunteer and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 artillery instructor, told teachers at Desert Mesa. “If we seem aggressive sometimes, it’s not because we think you’re the problem, but because we just want to attack the problem and get it solved.”

Many of the teachers found the training very helpful.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive comments and an expression of appreciation of being reminded of the sacrifice our military families make and the difficulties associated with their service,” said Alan Sullivan, Woodard Middle School principal.

There is a good chance that this program will be moving throughout Marine Corps Installations West, according to McShane, who said MCI West school liaison officials were very interested in gauging the training’s effectiveness and that possible expansion of the program could follow.

If the training proves to be effective, the program may be introduced throughout Marine Corps Installations West, said McShane.

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