Empowering Mannheim community children through literature
May 17, 2010
MANNHEIM, Germany (May 16, 2010) - "A Soldier hugged his son goodbye and said, 'I'll miss you little guy.'" These are the first words read during the Tell Me A Story event held at the Mannheim Elementary School.
The words come from Brenda Ehrmantraut's "Night Catch", which was read by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey G. Smith, Jr., commander, 5th Signal Command, and senior mission commander for the Mannheim community.
From the description inside the book's cover, when a Soldier's work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son. The story is an example of how families stay connected while apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.
TMAS is an initiative that was created under the Parent 2 Parent and Military Child Education Coalition to empower military children by using literature and their own stories in a way that fosters skills for resilience, strong peer and parent connections, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and a caring community.
After the book reading, Brig. Gen. Smith played the melody "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," while the children sang along.
As part of the TMAS event, the children and parents formed into smaller groups to discuss the book and make their own charts detailing how to find the North Star using the big and small dipper star constellations. Each of the gathered families was also given a copy of the book signed at the event by Brig. Gen. Smith and his wife, Deborah.