Army youth get sponsorship help
November 18, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Nov. 15, 2013) -- Military-connected students move from different school systems about three times more often than other students, which presents many unique challenges.
These students have to cope with moving just prior to their senior year of high school, being the "new kid on the block" and just transitioning regularly from one location to another.
When children and teens face these challenges, it is important to assist them in finding others who have experienced similar situations and have had the same feelings.
"When I arrived (in Hawaii), it was pretty hard being a high-schooler, fitting in, finding new friends, which is usually how it goes, being a military kid," said Randi Ferido.
"It was hard, much harder than any other PCS I've ever experienced, especially since I left behind my best friend at our last assignment," Randi continued. "However, I do still keep in touch with all my friends, and I'm starting to get along (with students here) quite nicely."
Randi currently attends Mililani High School, where she serves as a youth sponsor through the Army Youth Sponsorship Program (AYSP).
Part of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Child, Youth and School Services, AYSP helps youth and parents through relocation, school and other life transitions by providing much-needed resources, programs and information so that they can become more familiar with their new home in Hawaii.
"My experience moving to Hawaii was hard, but it was also fun to come to a place where there's various cultures, and being able to see all the cultures come together in a community was really cool," said newcomer Madelyn Jones, who moved from Fort Drum, to Fort Hood, then to Hawaii all during her first three years of high school.
"Having someone like Randi who contacted me about school and offered her assistance was very helpful in knowing I had someone to ask and talk to," Madelyn said.
Military-connected students have repeatedly indicated that they received the best support from other students as they transitioned, and AYSP realizes that our military students are our best resource.
Every month, military children and teens are relocating and transitioning into new schools. Thanks to Radford High School's Malama I Na Haumana (Care for the Students) Program and Leilehua High School's Aloha Ambassadors School Transition Support Program, these new students are being supported immediately as they enroll.
Last year, student facilitators assisted 450 new students transiting to Radford and 248 to Leilehua.
The main goals for AYSP and participating schools are to ease the transition challenges for new students and give them the best transitional experience possible.