Soldiers go back to class for Adopt-A-School
Cpl. Sarah Gorman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, works with fifth-grader Sarah Bixby on a vocabulary lesson, matching words like triathlon, tripod and triceratops with their definitions, Nov. 9 at MacArthur Elementary School. After the younger Sarah completed the worksheet, Gorman listened and helped with difficult words as Sarah read aloud her library book, "Ranger's Apprentice" by John Flanagan. Gorman, Spc. Aaron Smith, Pfc. Shayla Clark, Spc. William Roberts and Pfc. Travis Wilt read with MacArthur students about once a week as part of a voluntary Adopt-A-School program.

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Nov. 10, 2011) -- Each week, Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, take a break from regular duties to read to children.

Gayle Bertram, principal at MacArthur Elementary School, said Soldiers who volunteer through Fort Leavenworth's Adopt-A-School program bring an important aspect into children's lives.

"Some of our students need a positive role model, so it's been a really good program for us, and the Soldiers have been very dependable, so we've enjoyed it," Bertram said.

Cpl. Sarah Gorman said Soldiers in her unit have been volunteering with the program for several weeks. She enjoys spending time with the children and said she's seen a benefit to both them and the Soldiers.

"I know one student in particular was having some issues, he needed more reading help and needed a better role model in his life, so one of our guys went over to do some more one-on-one help with him," she said.

Gorman said the Adopt-A-School program is also beneficial for Soldiers.

"We love kids and we want to help kids, and it's fun to hang out with them," she said. "We have a good time. In our monotonous day, sometimes it's a good break to go hang out with some really good and smart kids."

Gorman said Soldiers can participate in the program as convenient. For most, it's an hour a week, but some like to stay longer.

"It's kind of sad to leave, because we have such a good time," she said.

School Liaison Officer Jessica Brushwood said there are two groups of Soldiers volunteering with the Adopt-A-School program right now, and she is looking for more volunteers and for schools in need. Another group in the program volunteers with the Leavenworth High School Junior ROTC.

Brushwood said she saw the program between other garrisons and schools and wanted to start a similar program here on post.

Soldiers work with Army Community Service to record volunteer hours, complete initial paperwork and submit a local background clearance. They register through the volunteer management system. In some cases, depending on their commander, Soldiers can receive a volunteer medal.

"We encourage them to put their hours in the system," Brushwood said. "If they keep track of all those hours, then they have some type of record of their volunteering."

Brushwood works with many off-post schools as well as the Fort Leavenworth schools, and said many of them would be open to having Soldier volunteers.

"It helps the kids to see positive role models and it helps our community relationship and our image of how civilians view the military," she said.

For more information about the Adopt-A-School program, contact Brushwood at 684-1655.

Page last updated Thu November 10th, 2011 at 11:00