Author Romain visits Casey
February 16, 2012
CAMP CASEY (Feb. 16, 2012) -- Trevor Romain has a message for the children of military servicemembers: don't be afraid to ask for help and share your feelings with others in a healthy and positive manner.
Romain and several members of his "We're With You All the Way!" tour visited Hanson Fitness Center here Feb. 6 as part of a USO-sponsored tour. The comedy-based educational presentation is designed to entertain kids and give them strategies to cope with bullies, homework, deployments and more.
The best-selling author and illustrator began his hour-long presentations for the 200 Casey Elementary School students in 2nd through 6th grades by telling of a shy second-grader who had dyslexia. He said the boy prepared a special poster to give to his teacher on the last day of school, but that a bully tore it to pieces at the bus stop. He said everyone laughed. He was that young boy, Romain said.
"It's okay to be sad," he said about bad experiences. "It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be frustrated. It's what we do with those feelings that's important."
Also with him on the tour was Stephanie Ridell, 25, a social worker who was the child of an Air Force family. She said her family moved seven times, her father deployed several times and that she experienced a wide range of emotions. She shared her experiences, and along with Romain offered coping strategies for the students.
Romain said his favorite ways to share his feelings are to talk to somebody to get them out, write them in a journal and to draw pictures.
He also offered a revelation that caught the students by surprise: even bullies have problems and need help.
"Bullies don't bully for no reason," Romain said. "Sometimes they are having a really hard time."
His special connection with children is something he discovered unexpectedly while being deployed to Angola as a Soldier from his native South Africa.
He was walking though a hospital filled with injured kids when a small 5-year-old boy whose legs were badly injured and couldn't walk asked if he would hold him.
"I bent down and picked up that little boy, and I've never been held so tight in my life," Romain said. "He put his little face upside mine and he started to cry. His tears ran down my shirt and touched my heart."
At that moment, he realized he had a special calling. Before he closed his presentations he asked the students in attendance to join his cause. He issued a "triple dog dare" to "anyone of you in this room who has the courage to make a difference in someone else's life."
He told them that it's easy to be mean to others and put them down, but that "it takes a lot of courage and a lot of guts to stand up for somebody who is being put down," and that by doing so they will become heroes to others who are feeling lonely.
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