In keeping with the Army's belief that the strength of a Soldier comes from the strength of his or her Family, the U.S. Army Garrison Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) staff held Thanksgiving luncheons for parents to share with their children.

The luncheons, held Nov. 17 for pre-kindergarten (pre-k) students and Nov. 19 for children at the Child Development Center (CDC), featured traditional Thanksgiving meals of turkey, stuffing, cream corn, cranberry sauce and pies.

Teresa Williams, CDC cook, helped prepare the meals and said she was glad to be able to give parents something to enjoy with their children in a Family environment.

Alicia Thompson, transportation coordinator, U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Public Works/Directorate of Logistics, said she was glad to be able to take time from work to spend with her with son, Xavier, 4, a student in the CDC Preschool Class 2.

With so many servicemembers deployed, Thompson said it was nice of CYSS to provide an opportunity for Families to get together and support their children.

Yvette Walker, CYSS training and curriculum specialist, said the luncheon also benefited parents who weren't necessarily looking at deploying in the near future.

"Even if a parent isn't deployed, many have missions here that keep them away from their kids," she said. "Too often, a parent isn't there, and because of that, we wanted to allow parents and their children to have at least this chance to celebrate the holiday."

Besides the meal, Barbara Howard, CDC director, said the luncheon also allowed the kids to show off their work and what they've learned to the rest of their Families.

For Carlos Culbreath, a firefighter with the Atlanta Fire Department, the luncheon was a chance to see some of the work of his daughter, Autumn, 3, who is enrolled in CDC Preschool Class 1.

"It's not that often you get to go to your kid's school," he said. "It's good to spend some time in the environment they spend most of their time in."

Walker said all work the children do falls in line with CYSS philosophy and teaching guidelines of helping children learn through everyday play and activities.

"It helps teach the kids self-help skills and responsibilities," she said.

Although this will be the last Thanksgiving event for CYSS due to BRAC, Howard said CYSS will continue to hold events to strengthen Family ties, adding a Christmas meal is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 17.

"It's important to have parents involved in their children's education and upbringing," Walker said.