Dover AFB schools implement resiliency program

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephani Barge
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Faculty and students at Welch Elementary School, Dover Air Force Base Middle School and the base Youth Center participated in resilience program training sessions Oct. 19 - 21, 2021, to provide military connected students with positive support, encouragement and life skills through club events such as tours, kits, activity groups and service projects.


“The program is a club of kids that help other kids,” said Tami Patton, Anchored4Life learning consultant. “These clubs are placed in schools around military bases to help military kids, their community and fellow students connect and support one another so that they can build resiliency and the ability to bounce back from setbacks associated with transitions.”


Dover AFB schools are the first in Delaware to implement the program, which meets one of the criteria for the Purple Star School designation since it is a student-led transition program. A fact that Laurie Sisk, Dover AFB school liaison program manager, kept in mind when requesting the program.


“Delaware is one of 29 states to pass legislation for the Purple Star School Program,” said Sisk.  “It’s important because it helps our military connected families identify schools and districts that have a military-friendly culture while also having students that reach out to help each other during tough transitions. It’s a win-win.”


Program training consisted of two initial sessions and will require an annual refresher training thereafter. The first day focused on training faculty members as club advisors. On day two, newly trained advisors joined the program’s learning consultant in training students selected as club team leaders. All participants learned about the variety of kits, resources, activities and curriculums available through the program, while student team leads practiced supportive communication skills.


Sisk said the training will provide school faculty with more awareness of the challenges military children face transitioning from school to school.


“The average military connected student will move six to nine times from the start of kindergarten to high school graduation,” said Sisk. “They face educational gaps due to course sequencing that can put additional stress on the student and family.”


While the program is only in the initial stages at Dover AFB schools, it has already begun making a difference for students.


“In just one week,” said Sisk, “ elementary school club advisor was able to help a student using the grief kit, an elementary team leader sat with another student to share the moving kit and a team leader provided a warm welcome to a new student and helped the student find his way to the youth center.”