Shannon Morell, an outreach coordinator and family resiliency trainer with Families Overcoming Under Stress, a component of Marine and Family Services, helps children write their names on a poster during a Warrior Kids Series event at the Marine Corps Family Team Building here, Nov. 30, 2011. Hosted by the Readiness & Deployment Support Program and Combat Logistics Battalion 1, the event focused on preparing military children to effectively communicate their feelings before, during and after their Marine's deployment. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jovane M. Henry
| ||MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (MCN - 11/30/2011) — More than 20 children from ages five to eighteen attended a Warrior Kids Series event, hosted by the Readiness & Deployment Support Program and Combat Logistics Battalion 1, at the Marine Corps Family Readiness Center here, Nov. 30.|
The purpose of the event, which has been offered by RDS trainers for more than a year, was to help children express their concerns and feelings for their deployed Marine, as well as connect with others going through the same process, said Tabitha Perez, a trainer with RDS.
“Our main goal is to help families identify and express their emotions before, during and after their Marine's deployment,” said Perez. “During this series, we provide training not only for the children, but also for spouses, to make sure everyone is speaking the same language.”
The series, which is offered every other month, is broken down into three modules: Parents and Children Pre- Deployment, which provides pre-deployment briefing and activities, Mid-Deployment Kids and Deployment, which is conducted midway through the deployment and Parents and Kids Return and Reunion, which prepares the child for their Marine's return and reintegration.
Each part is a vital piece to the overall program, which produces visible results in the children who attend, said Katie Perlin, an RDS trainer.
“We've had kids who were acting out attend the class and make a complete turnaround,” said Perlin. “A lot of the time, children have problems expressing themselves- this series gives them the tools and the know-how to communicate effectively.”
During the event, children were given a presentation by a representative from the Family Overcoming Under Stress Project, a component of Marine and Family Programs.
With the help of F.O.C.U.S., each child learned how to use a journal and “feeling thermometer” to help identify and communicate their mood to those around them.
Instructing children on how to share their feelings, especially during a deployment, helps not only the child, but the entire military community as a whole, said Scott Becherer, an RDS trainer.
“If we can teach just one child how to deal with their feelings, and they pass that knowledge onto another child who's going through the same thing, then our entire community is benefiting,” said Becherer.
In addition to assisting those on the home front, the program also benefits the deployed Marine throughout their time away from their family, said Perez.
“When a family is participating in this program, the Marine can keep their mind focused on the mission because they know their child and spouse are being taken care of emotionally,” said Perez. “It really does provide peace of mind.”
Each participant walking away with tools and resources to cope with their Marine being gone is the personal goal of each of the three RDS trainers.
“We want children and their parents to walk away knowing that they are not alone,” said Perlin. “There are resources and a network of people here to assist and support them until their Marine is safely home.”
More photos available below
By USMC Cpl. Jovane M. Henry
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps News
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