MSEJ April 2016 - Page 6

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They understand paperwork. Hear me out. I’ve taught at the collegiate level for a decade now, and I have always been frustrated with students who wait for someone else to provide them with the solution. Both Madison and Katrina advised that understanding and being able to navigate paperwork (and bureaucracy) and tap into resources and opportunities were important life skills

to master. Whether understanding where to get paperwork completed and submitted to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill, finding Tricare approved healthcare while at school, or applying for opportunities like internships and the Congressional Award, military kids have learned to navigate the process.

They need us to hear and advocate for what they need. While both Madison and Katrina recognized the positive impact of military service on military kids, they didn’t deny the real problems military kids can face or the need to find solutions. Madison explained, “The uncertainty of military life deeply affects military kids: constant moving and deployments can cause educational issues, mental health issues, and more. When adults look at focusing on the total military family, it’s important to ensure there are programs that directly meet these issues head on and provide clear successful improvements.”

But they know what they need too. Military kids are adept at knowing what they need to do and advising each other. Katrina offered the following advice: “To military kids preparing to leave the nest, I'd say that the strength and resilience they have gained through years of moving, deployments, accommodating different cultures and points of view will serve them well in the next steps of their lives, no matter what they may be. Don't be scared to declare a home, a family, or a group of lifelong friends, even if it feels like you've never had that. Choose a path that is right for you, because post-high school plans are NOT one-size-fits-all."

In honor of the month of the military child, let’s celebrate the smart, resilient “kids” we are raising and look forward to their impact as adults. The military kids are all right.

A very special thanks to the amazing young women who took time out of their lives to speak to me about their lives as military kids. I can't wait to see what they do next.

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HOT JOBS

Picture by PAO, Fort Wainwright

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