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Helping Military Children Deal with Deployment - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Helping Military Children Deal with Deployment

Northfield, Vermont - October 13, 2009

Inside a Northfield classroom, teachers and community leaders are learning how the big guard deployment will impact military kids.

The Vermont Department of Education and Vermont National Guard teamed up to bring the nonprofit group Military Child Education Coalition here. Experts say deployments impact kids differently; some get angry at their parent for volunteering or ask why now?

"It's not them. They didn't do anything to create this change," said Karen Campbell of Brattleboro.

Children often feel out of control, so one tip is to let them be in charge of what they can control. Also having a support system in place is key.

Karen Campbell has four children and her husband is getting ready to deploy for the second time.

"So it's all kind of oh-- déjà vu kind of things-- like I was there," she said.

She attended the free workshop because there is no big military base in Vermont where families live, so guard members can feel isolated-- especially kids-- whose friends are not going through the same thing.

"And living down in Brattleboro we are hundreds of miles from Camp Johnson and all the family readiness programs and normalized support networks, so just trying to educate myself so I can bring it back down to the community," Campbell explained.

Experts say the most important thing may be as simple as reaching out to kids and acknowledging what they are going through and letting them know you support them and you are also there to listen.

"If there is a feeling that the community is aware and there is support there, the families feel like they have connection with the community and that's what we are looking for," said Sally Patterson of the Military Child Education Coalition.

Guidance Counselor Lynn Vera is not familiar with military life-- that's why she decided to take the class.

"I want to know more about so I can support kids better and be at least aware of when their families start raising issues that I've paid attention to them ahead of time a little bit," Vera said.

"Family readiness has come a long way in Vermont in the last few years and they are doing a great job and I hope they continue to keep it up and people should try to raise their awareness out there and there are probably military families in their neighborhood and community that could use their support," Campbell said.

Hoping to help ease the pain of the deployment on those left behind.

Kristin Carlson - WCAX News

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