University of Wyoming Extension News

UW’s Operation: Military Kids partners with Military Child Education Coalition

Providing practical strategies and resources for encouraging resilience in children of military parents serving overseas is the intent of a two-day workshop in Casper this September.

Living in the New Normal Institute (LINN): Helping Children Thrive Through Good and Challenging Times training is Wednesday and Thursday, Sept 12-13, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel at 800 N. Poplar St. Breakfast and lunch are providedboth days.

Out of Wyoming’s 88,000 school-age children, 3,000 or 3.4 percent are children of members of the military, according to Keith Martin, program manager at the non-profit Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC).

“That number more than doubles when you add the children of men and women who served and completedtheir service at some time during the 11 years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “It becomes even larger when you add military-connected children who are in private schools or who are home-schooled.”

He said attendees will receive the latest research and experience-based knowledge, skills and tools to allow them to provide informed sensitivity and support to military-connected children. “As an added benefit, much of that knowledge, skills and tools are applicable to any child experiencing stress, grief, loss and trauma,” he said.

RSVP is requested, and there is no cost to register; to RSVP, go to www.militarychild.org  and click on Training then scroll down to LINN – Casper and follow the registration prompts.

“There are 50 seats in the class, and the more who attend, the greater the impact and benefit of the training in support of Wyoming’s military-connected children,” said Martin. “Those who attend this training will leave empowered and skilled to provide that sensitivity and support.”

MCEC is a national partner in the Operation: Military Kids (OMK) coalition at the University of Wyoming Extension.

“OMK is a grant initiative, which has a component of its mission to create networks of people, organizations and other resources to support youth in military families where they live,” said Eloise Riley, OMK program coordinator at UW Extension.

“We value the national partnership with the MCEC, which provides support materials and resources as well as training to those who are working with military youth. It becomes our local task to make stakeholders aware of all that MCEC has to offer.”

MCEC, as an American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education member, is collaborating with UW to encourage development and incorporation of instruction related to the needs of military children into the core curricula for future teachers,counselors and social workers as part of the Joining Forces Initiative.

“There is clear evidence any childexperiencing stress, grief, loss or trauma can develop and sustain strength and resilience if they receive informed sensitivity and support,” said Martin.

For more information about MCEC, email Martin at kaygkm@frontier.com. For more information about OMK, email Riley at eriley3@uwyo.edu.