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Student 2 Student: Sponsoring America’s future

A woman stands up in the front of a room speaking.

Julie Middlestaedt, Military Child Education Coalition student trainer, teaches volunteers about the Student 2 Student program in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jan. 16, 2018. Middlestaedt guided both students and teachers through a two-day curriculum focused on helping new students recently moved by a permanent change of station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A sign on a dorr says welcome to Student 2 Student training.

Student 2 Student trainees learn about their role in the S2S program in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jan. 16, 2018. S2S is a peer-to-peer mentoring program for grade-school children recently moved by a permanent change of station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

Six people stand up in the front of a room speaking.

Jermaine Bryant, Student 2 Student trainee, explains an activity his group created to the rest of the class in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jan. 16, 2018. The Student 2 Student program helps military children adjust to new schools after their parents have a permanent change of station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

Six people stand up in the front of a room speaking.

Terena Woodruff, Student 2 Student trainee, whispers positive encouragement to Amaia Allen, Student 2 Student trainee, during a group exercise in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jan. 16, 2018. Students were encouraged to create their own activities to help new students feel welcome at their school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man writes down words in a training packet

Jermaine Bryant, Student 2 Student trainee, writes down aspects of himself not immediately apparent to other people while in training in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jan. 16, 2018. The activity was designed to show how not everything you need to know about somebody is easy to see. Bryant was participating in the S2S program to aid children recently moved by a permanent change of station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

The first day at a new school--for most students it can be a hard adjustment, but for children of U.S. Armed Forces members it is a common struggle.

Now for those students coming to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, they won’t have to worry about feeling isolated in a new city on their first day of school thanks to the “Student 2 Student” program.

“Student 2 Student is an ambassador program that welcomes our military-connected students,” said Shenese Broadus, Little Rock Air Force Base school liaison officer. “We ensure our teachers are aware that our military-connected students are coming in and welcome them to the school by showing them around and getting them familiar with the school policies.”

Last week, teams of students and adult school staff members from local schools met in Little Rock for two days of training by members of the Military Child Education Coalition. The S2S program was brought to Arkansas to combat the difficulties experienced by military children during permanent changes of station by having students and teachers guide them through their new school experience.

“I’m excited to do this because we don’t have a program like this at my school,” said Ricky Moore, S2S trainee. “My friends and I would already sort of greet new kids, but it’s nice to have an official program supporting us.”

Efforts are being made by Team Little Rock leaders to strengthen partnerships with local educators and advocate for improvements in this key quality-of-life focus area. Utilizing both students and teachers as part of this warm welcome, the S2S program works to support the peace of mind of parents and guardians of children.

“One of the concerns brought up by parents is that once they PCS, it’s hard for their children to make friends,” Broadus said. “We were taught here today that there’s a two-week time period to really make friends and the S2S program will give them a baseline for achieving that.”

After absorbing a plethora of knowledge and familiarization techniques, Broadus was confident she and the other trainees would be able to provide support to new students in need of some friendly guidance.

“I’m really excited about this, and we’ve already received some great feedback on the program from students,” Broadus said. “In the military everyone has sponsors when they go to a new base, and this is like a sponsor program for the kids. It allows a child to immediately feel like a part of the community.”

 

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