By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted a back to school event at the event center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, July 25, 2018.
Parents had the opportunity to register their children for school as well as learn about on and off base educational resources. Children received hands-on bus safety training, petted live falcons and watched a military working dog demonstration during the action-packed day.
“This is an annual event to assist military kids and their parents to get ready and excited for the upcoming school year,” said Ruth Moore, community readiness consultant with the 50th Force Support Squadron. “The purpose is to provide programs and resources to address the unique educational challenges that face military-connected children.”
Representatives from Ellicott School District, A&FRC, Military OneSource, Family Advocacy Program, Ellicott Parent Volunteers, Pikes Peak Library, School Age Care program, and the youth Military and Family Life Counselor, were on hand to answer questions and assist families.
“We wanted organizations that support our Schriever military community,” Moore said. “It’s a great opportunity for parents and students to make contact with helping agencies in a low-key way before school starts.”
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hammett, noncommissioned officer in charge of voice systems with the 50th Space Communication Squadron, recently arrived at Schriever AFB and appreciated the efficiency of the event.
“I think this is a very important event, especially if it’s your first time at Schriever,” she said. “It makes everything easy. I needed to know what supplies to get and what the teacher’s names are, and all that information was available to me. As a working parent, it saved me a lot of time.”
The presence of animals was a new and strategic decision by event organizers.
“We requested the USAFA falcons and the K-9 demonstrations because we wanted fun and educational activities for the kids,” Moore said. “We hope to help motivate children to ask questions about science and law enforcement. We also wish to stimulate their minds and get them interested in science and safety as a whole.”
While entertaining and engaging the children was a key goal for the event, Moore said they were also focused on ensuring a wide spectrum of children’s needs were met.
“These events are important because they help and ensure that military-connected children’s academic, social and emotional needs are recognized, supported and appropriate responses provided,” she said. “We also want to provide services and programs that ensure inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, transition, deployments and family separation.”
Rebecca Howland, principal of Ellicott Middle School, was on hand for the event and shared the same goal as Moore.
“This is a fantastic event,” she said. “We love our Schriever families. This is my first year as principal and I really wanted to come meet the families. It’s important parents know we are committed to our military children and they will receive the best education in the best environment.”
To further these goals, Howland said her school is starting a new program called Sources of Strength.
“It basically empowers kids to help themselves,” Howland said. “It shows them how to be positive influences on each other. Middle school years are really hard, socially and personally for children. They are making huge growth in that amount of time. We are trying to focus on the whole child concept, supporting them socially, emotionally and academically.”
Howland said student leaders are a key component of the program and she anticipates strong leadership from her Schriever AFB children.
“Our military kids are often some of our stronger leaders, so we really try to cultivate those relationships with them,” she said. “We are looking forward to a great school year and know the partnership with our military families is key for that.”
The partnership between Schriever AFB and Ellicott School District was the deciding factor for Hammett when determining where to live in the area.
“Seeing this level of partnership between the base and school is very important for me,” Hammett said. “I had heard of the reputation of the school district and the base before I got here and was very impressed. It made all the difference.”
Moore stressed the importance of families knowing what resources are available to them and asked parents to reach out if they have questions.
“The Airman and Family Readiness Center supports our local military communities by acting as a bridge between the military family and the local school systems,” Moore said. “We can be a wealth of knowledge on local services and resources in the local communities and are adept at guiding school related issues to resolution for military families.”
To contact the A&FRC, call 567-3920.