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Military Child Education Coalition trains Scott AFB families

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, along with their spouses, received training Nov. 3 from the Military Child Education Coalition at the Military Reach Planning Center at the U.S. Transportation Command campus.

The 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander, Col. Gary Goldstone, opened the training sessions with thanks for volunteers and professionals from MCEC. The sessions for all organizations on base were geared to guide parents toward effectively working for their children's best interests with their school systems.

Because many active duty families move six to nine times while their children go from kindergarten to finishing high school, MCEC started 12 years ago at Fort Hood, Texas, to mentor parents in how to advocate for their children. Families face a range of challenges from schools having different class structure, grading scales, when and whether to learn cursive script, to their father, mother or sometimes both, deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"The youngest among us who serve are our children," said Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander, USTRANSCOM, in remarks during the opening session. His wife, Linda, helped organize the visit to Scott and has volunteered with MCEC for many years. McNabb related that Linda spends most of their travels visiting schools to see what needs to be done to assist the military children enrolled.

The parents participated in sessions geared for kindergarten through seventh grade or eighth grade to high school. One exercise had each parent write down their children's greatest accomplishments on a sticky note, which the instructor collected. Then, without looking at them, the instructor threw all of the notes away in a garbage can in front of the parents. The parents gasped, then the instructors relayed the loss of their momentary efforts was symbolic of how their children felt after each move. No one at their new location knew of their old accomplishments - it is time to start over, again.

The MCEC instructors introduced the group to learning tools, including www.militarychild.org, where the non-profit group presents opportunities for learning online. They focus on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children by helping parents work with the children's schools and teachers.

MCEC taught the sessions during the day and the evening so more parents attend. More than 170 service and family members attended.

"Parents armed with the right tools are a powerful force," said Army Maj. Gen. William Johnson, chief of staff, USTRANSCOM. "MCEC proved once again they can provide those tools in a variety of ways."

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