Garrison 'konnects' with kids during parents' deployments
April 11, 2007
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - A new Army Community Services program at the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern is designed to help children who have deployed parents.
Called Kids Konnect, the program reaches out to nearly 100 students at schools in the Kaiserslautern military community, said Selinda Torbert, the garrison's ACS outreach coordinator, who is credited with creating the program.
"When they come in, they are so happy to see me," said Torbert, whom the children have nicknamed the ACS Lady. "They know somebody outside of their normal life and family cares enough to come and see them."
Helping children cope with having a deployed parent is not new to military schools. According to Linda Powlus, one of two Kaiserslautern American Elementary School guidance counselors, Kids Konnect assists already well-established deployment programs at Kaiserslautern and Landstuhl elementary and middle schools, especially with the KMC schools' Deployment Support Center.
Kids Konnect also provides children a chance to do arts-and-crafts, play games and be with other classmates who also have deployed parents, Torbert noted.
"I think it's an excellent way to show the community, the teachers, students and families that we are all in this together and we do help each other," said Elaine Shrock, a KAES guidance counselor who works with the Deployment Support Center.
(Christine June is from U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, Germany, public affairs office)