USO United Through Reading Program
By SFC Charles HighlandSeptember 13, 2017
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT -- Deployed service members staying connected with children and family can be quite hard, the United Through Reading Program provided by the USO at Camp Arifjan wants to change that.
"We provide a unique experience for service members by allowing them to come in read a book to their children and we mail it back home to them at no charge," said Chris Patterson USO Family Support Coordinator. "It allows them to directly connect back with their family members back home."
Soldiers can pick a book and read it while being filmed. Once finished the book and video are sent back home to children and family members. Funding for the program comes from private donors and has no cost to soldiers using it.
"I was surprised when I got here and it was very well organized," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Gilkison, paralegal NCOIC for the 371st Sustainment Brigade. "They always have a different rotation of books and even books I grew up with when I was a kid."
The videos can be recorded on a Micro SD card or a DVD which is also provided free of charge. Once finished USO volunteers assist you in addressing the envelope and helping you with your customs form. Gilkison said, "The USO volunteers really do care and walk you through the process."
"We get screen shots of children opening the package and videos of children watching while reading with their parents and it's so rewarding," said Patterson. "This provides a lasting impact; it's not just a onetime conversation on the phone or Facetime."
"First time I sent it my wife and kids were blown away and they wanted to hear it again and again," said Gilkison. "This is a huge connecting piece with my kids and they want me to send more books."
The USO provides this service on weekends after 6pm. Each soldier can read one book per child, up to three per day. The USO also gets special books in time for most holidays.
- October 19, 2020New terminal scanner screens temperatures to improve safety
- October 19, 2020Army recruiters help WWII Veteran fulfill lifelong dream
- October 16, 2020Historic V Corps activates at Fort Knox on ‘picture perfect’ day
- October 19, 2020Army to research additive manufacturing with University of Maryland
- October 16, 2020Senior leaders discuss housing reform, quality of life initiatives
- October 16, 2020Medical research director: Army ‘uniquely poised’ to battle global pandemic
- October 16, 2020Human testing for Army Medicine-led coronavirus vaccines in sight
- October 18, 2020Army National Guard continues vital national security role
- October 15, 2020Army leaders: Taking care of people will help take care of the force
- October 15, 2020SMA talks ‘This is My Squad’ with company-level leaders
- October 15, 2020Esper discusses new technologies designed to give warfighters the advantage
- October 15, 2020Army 3D printed holography device rapidly detects, characterizes aerosols
- October 14, 2020Leaders credit national framework for effective COVID-19 response