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Primary school works to keep deployed parents, students in touch

Linda Baez, Army spouse, plays with daughter, Amayah, at the Fort Rucker Primary School Deployment Tea at Allen Heights Feb. 26. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Linda Baez, Army spouse, plays with daughter, Amayah, at the Fort Rucker Primary School Deployment Tea at Allen Heights Feb. 26. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: March 6, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 6, 2014) -- Being deployed is a possibility that every Soldier prepares for as soon as they sign their military service contract. And although they know it may be coming, it does not make it any easier once separated from Family, especially small children.

To help cope with the stresses of deployment, teachers and staff at the Fort Rucker Primary School keep deployed Soldiers in touch with their children, but a special Deployment Tea was held Feb. 26 at the Allen Heights Community Center to give their spouses a chance to connect and learn more about what is happening at school, as well as in the community.

“We invited several organizations on post, like Army Community Service, to talk to the Families, too,” said Mietta Hammond, guidance counselor at the school. “We want parents to know that we love them and if we can help in any way to fill the void that deployments often cause then we want to do our part.”

Guests at the event included spouses, their children and special guest, CW4 Andy Miller, who recently returned from a deployment and partook in the school’s program while away.

“It brightened up my day (when the school would update me on Aaron’s progress). I liked knowing what (my son) was up to. It’s a really great thing to look forward to while you’re away,” said Miller.

The Deployment Teas are held once a year for spouses of Soldiers deployed overseas who have children enrolled at the primary school. The tea is coordinated by many different members of the school staff, but keeping deployed parents involved in their students’ lives is a deployment-long activity.

“We want parents to know that they can participate in their child’s education, even when they’re deployed. It helps morale for the deployed Soldier,” said Hammond. “They are still a part of their child’s life, especially their school life, even when they are away. They can call and tell their child good luck on a test tomorrow, even when the child did not tell them about it, because we notified them.”

Linda Baez, Army spouse, said she knows her husband likes the effort the school and installation make to help her feel safe and welcome, although he is away.

“My son, Eli, is at the school and I know he likes sending stuff, and events like this are really helpful for me and my kids because it helps time go by faster,” she said. “I know my husband loves getting stuff from the school, it makes him feel like he is still a part of the Family and Eli feels like he is doing something special for his dad.”

The tea used to be held at the school, but thanks to a new partnership with Corvias Military Living the gathering was held in the much homier atmosphere of the community center, which the Families appreciated.

Along with refreshments and conversation, the spouses at the Deployment Tea received gift bags filled with tools to help them through the months of deployment, information on the school’s upcoming activities and information from ACS.

Included in the school’s program for deployed Soldiers is a monthly newsletter, “Corresponding from A to Z,” that is emailed to the deployed parent. Teachers also put together notebooks, grades and photos for deployed parents, along with different craft activities such as mugs, frames and paper child-size cut outs.

“This program is important because we want to make sure children know that no matter what happens in their Family life, like a deployment, their parents are making sure that they know what is going on in their lives,” said Deborah Deas, principal. “Knowing that, they will become productive and happy adults. We don’t want deployments to make a huge impact on their young lives.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/121398/

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