YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Youth instructional programs such as ballet and martial arts are free for children of deployed Soldiers or Civilians as a benefit under the Army Family Covenant.

Yongsan offers approximately 12 instructional programs for children 3-18 years old as part of the Child and Youth Services SKIES Unlimited Program. SKIES stands for School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.

The classes are free for up to 32 weeks and are open to both command-sponsored and non-command sponsored families. Each month, about 600 children and youth participate in Yongsan classes, which also include gymnastics, dance and music.

"The Army Family Covenant has come through for us," said Aundrea Witt, SKIES instructional programs specialist. "This has been a very positive effort to assist families and show the dedication to keeping the children engaged in activities and promoting positive thoughts."

Late last year, leaders at Army installations worldwide signed Army Family Covenant pledges showing their commitment to improving and expanding family programs across the Army. Since then, AFC initiatives have included eliminating initial registration fees for child care, extending hours for respite care and extended-duty child care, and expanding programs for teens and after-school care, including youth sports.