Missing Link: Program helps orient teens to life overseas
August 13, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Military teens know what it feels like to move from one place to another, making new friends and feeling lost in a crowd.
A new program, Missing Link, is reaching out to teens to familiarize them with Wiesbaden. Nineteen-year-old Summer Hires Alyssa Flynn and Natascha Carlucci came up with the idea for Missing Link after helping with an Army Community Service Newcomers Orientation Tour.
During the tour the teens heard a woman saying she wished her 21-year-old daughter was there with her. Flynn and Carlucci approached their director and told him about their idea for a program to welcome new teens to Wiesbaden.
"This program [Missing Link] would really help those in college as well as those in high school," said Carlucci.
The program works in conjunction with the ACS Newcomers Orientation Programs to help teens find friends, just before they attend school. It is also open to teens who might be attending college in the fall giving them a chance to socialize with people their ages.
The Missing Link program, open to teens ages 16-21, starts with a Newcomers Orientation Week targeting certain age groups and includes a briefing that lets students get a feel for downtown Wiesbaden and a tour on how to use the local transportation system. After the orientation teens are provided a list of places to hang out. The activities listed range from going to local restaurants to attending a movie at the Taunus Theater in the Hainerberg Shopping Center.
"It's good because I don't have to be in an empty house," said Meghan Smith, one of two teens who attended the first Missing Link meeting July 14.
On July 15 Smith and Carlucci led a Missing Link tour that corresponded with the adult ACS newcomers walking tour.
Starting at the American Arms Hotel, the youth-focused tour took four teens downtown with stops at Mauritius Platz and a traditional German market.
The tour focused on visiting shops and restaurants rather than going to museums and stores that the teens' parents were excited about visiting.
Flynn and Carlucci showed the teens common fast food establishments such as kebab eateries to get quick food on the go.
"I really like the tour, and the food is great," said Smith.
The Missing Link transportation tour showed the teens how to use the bus to get to and from housing areas. The teens were taken to the Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof (train station) where Flynn and Carlucci explained how to use the train system. The last destination on the transportation tour involved taking Bus 28 to downtown Mainz.