Back-to-school season highlights partnership between Soldiers, schools
August 6, 2010
- School partnerships between Army, community
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Parents and students are gearing up for the beginning of the new school year in the Fort Wainwright community, but they are not the only ones.
Teachers and administrators in the Fairbanks North Star Borough school district and leaders and Soldiers at Fort Wainwright are preparing for the new year, too, and how they will work together to make a difference in the lives of students in the community.
Soldiers from units here have partnered with area schools for years and according to Lynda Goodwin, Fort Wainwright School Liaison officer, the informal partnership has been a big success for both the school district and Soldiers.
"Participation in the partnership program not only benefits children through increasing connectedness, resiliency, academic, social and life skills to children through exposure to positive role models, but presents a growth opportunity for supporting Soldiers in addition to developing a positive relationship with the community," Goodwin said.
Leaders from U.S. Army Alaska, Fort Wainwright and the FNSB school district will sign a formal partnership agreement in the futurecoming weeks, launching USARAK's official school partnership program with the borough school district, but until then, Soldiers will continue working with schools in a wide variety of events and activities.
"From Soldier participation in school events to inviting students to our facilities, we look for every opportunity to work with our school partners and make a difference in the lives of students and the Soldiers, Families and Civilian employees who interact with them," said Col. Timothy A. Jones, Fort Wainwright garrison commander.
End-of-school field days, science- fair judging, cold-weather safety classes, chili cook-off judging and listening to children read are just a few ways Soldiers have supported their partner schools in the past.
In addition to building strong community bonds and offering Soldiers the opportunity to affect their community, the partnership between Soldiers and schools offers tangible benefits to units, too, Goodwin said. "When I was setting up (an event) with one unit they were excited about it because they said it teaches the Soldiers how to interact with kids and will help them when they (deploy) because there they will also interact with kids."
The USARAK school partnership program linking Fort Wainwright units and local schools is intended to be long-term and Goodwin expects the relationships to endure even through deployments when rear detachment personnel will continue supporting unit partner schools.
"Fort Wainwright's partnership with area schools and the FNSB school district represents our strong commitment to serve and make a difference in our community," Jones said. "We all benefit from the excellence in education offered from our local schools and it is a privilege to partner with them."