HomeNewsArticle Display

School program helps children cope with deployments

Brice Relaford helps Caleb Parrish draw a card for his father April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Brice and Caleb are "Deployment Buddies," which is a program for high school and elementary school students who have parents that have deployed or will deploy. The buddies pair up and spend a day doing activities such as making cards for their parents, dancing the "Hokey Pokey" and playing games. The event happens once a month. Brice is a Ramstein High School junior. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Leigh Bellinger)

Brice Relaford helps Caleb Parrish draw a card for his father April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Brice and Caleb are "Deployment Buddies," which is a program for high school and elementary school students who have parents that have deployed or will deploy. The buddies pair up and spend a day doing activities such as making cards for their parents, dancing the "Hokey Pokey" and playing games. The event happens once a month. Brice is a Ramstein High School junior. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Leigh Bellinger)

Ramstein High School students dance the "Hokey Pokey" at the elementary school April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The students are a part of the Deployment Buddies Program where they mentor and play with elementary school children who have parents deployed or those who will deploy. A high school student is paired up with a buddy and participate in a number of activities throughout the day. The program is mainly for students who have parents deployed. (Courtesy photo)

Ramstein High School students dance the "Hokey Pokey" at the elementary school April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The students are a part of the Deployment Buddies Program where they mentor and play with elementary school children who have parents deployed or those who will deploy. A high school student is paired up with a buddy and participate in a number of activities throughout the day. The program is mainly for students who have parents deployed. (Courtesy photo)

Ramstein High School students and elementary school children meet for the first time in the Deployment Buddies Program at Ramstein Elementary April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The program helps elementary school students whose parents have deployed or will deploy. A high school student is assigned a buddy and continues the day with planned activities like dances, games, arts and crafts. (Courtesy photo)

Ramstein High School students and elementary school children meet for the first time in the Deployment Buddies Program at Ramstein Elementary April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The program helps elementary school students whose parents have deployed or will deploy. A high school student is assigned a buddy and continues the day with planned activities like dances, games, arts and crafts. (Courtesy photo)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNEWS) -- Life for military children can be hard, especially when the parents serving in the military have to deploy away from their children. However, Ramstein Air Base children who attend Ramstein high and elementary schools may find a friend when they are needed the most. 

To help military children here through difficult times, the Deployment Buddies Program pairs up high school students with elementary school children whose parents are away on deployment. It is a chance for high school students to mentor the younger children, and to share experiences on how to deal with deployments. 

"I loved when my parents read to me when I was little," said Nina Ramos, a high school senior. "So I asked (my deployment buddy) about her favorite books.  I told her that when I was little, I used to send my dad my favorite books and he used to record them on a tape and send them back to me. So she told her mom and they talked about it and yeah, it worked out for her, too. They started doing it and she said it was nice to hear her father's voice every night." 

The buddies meet once a month and participate in a wide variety of activities. They play games, dance the "Hokey Pokey," draw pictures and write cards to their deployed parents.

"The bottom line is the little kids needed someone to connect with," said Fred Lopez, a high school guidance counselor. "They needed to feel like they weren't alone in all of this."

The program is open to children whose parents will deploy, are deployed, or have recently returned. Members of the high school honor's society and junior ROTC program volunteer.

"I just know how it feels when that one parent is missing birthdays and Christmas," Nina said. "It's nice when you have one parent there, but you need that other one by your side supporting you."

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page

Engage

Facebook Twitter
"Just like the American spirit, our mentality in the military is always 'can do,' never say quit, and never say you… https://t.co/vPfWUoqWFE
“Staying fit is not only crucial for Airman readiness but is also vital in reducing our risk of illness like COVID-… https://t.co/PPXyfjV4iR
Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine is training medics on the use of Transport Isolation System to move #COVID19https://t.co/xnRNB4Xbez
Dept of the Air Force guidance on use of cloth face coverings can be found at https://t.co/vIzKyRwp57 #COVID19USAF https://t.co/bPyuUUfIQv
RT @thejointstaff: #InThisTogether as a whole of America approach to #COVID19 Joint Staff Surgeon Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs shares a mess…
.@USAFReserve deploys medical personnel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to support New York City after stops at… https://t.co/uZGajRGFlE
THANK YOU to everyone on the front lines against this invisible enemy! #ReadyAF #COVID19USAF 💪 https://t.co/rGbhX7mWuC
RT @PACAF: Within 72 hours the 735th Air Mobility Squadron loaded 31,063 lbs. of cargo containing PPE & med supplies onto a C-17. The 535th…
The Air Force has released guidance on use of cloth face covers. https://t.co/xe7kyznTfv https://t.co/hJCn4MM5lY
A 3D printer creates a prototype N95 face mask at Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow… https://t.co/pKTYTmTC97
RT @cmsaf18: Let’s come together by staying apart. #SocialDistancing #COVID https://t.co/S9GACwKoq5
Join @GenDaveGoldfein and @cmsaf18 this afternoon for a virtual town hall on the Air Force Facebook page, 3:30 PM -… https://t.co/MhahC1fejt
Within 48 hours of notification, the @USAFReserve mobilized more than 40 doctors, 70 nurses and approximately 13 r… https://t.co/2RT2Or0XnR
RT @thejointstaff: We are all #InThisTogether to mitigate the spread of #COVID19. Read the latest @DeptofDefense guidance on the use of cl…
The taxiway was brought out of retirement and repurposed for this exercise as a landing zone, which is an area desi… https://t.co/rc71QlsXr4
RT @AirNatlGuard: Taking care of your mental health is important, especially during #SocialDistancing. Hear the @142ndFW's Director of Psyc…
RT @AETCommand: Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at @SheppardAFB is implementing increased safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Fighting COVID-19 with innovation!💡@VaNationalGuard Airmen are using 3D printing to help alleviate the nationwide #PPE sh…
.@17TRW_GAFB Special Instruments Training course instructors use their skills to 3D print face shields to supply th… https://t.co/odsksEHEar