Teaching Children the Importance of Serving the Country

Importance of Serving the Country and Giving Back 

Back in 2008, I started an outreach program with a Detroit elementary school.  Over the past nine years, we have worked with several classrooms.  We have hosted several collection drives, held field trips, scheduled monthly tutoring sessions, and hold an annual toy delivery with Santa.  It has made a profound impact on the school, gained the respect of school administrators, and the students have grown to love Walsh. 

Blackwell Institute

Recently, I created a Qualtrics survey to gather feedback from past volunteers to find ways improvements can be made to the existing program.  One suggested that we consider working with older kids.  While I don't have the resources available to sustain two tutoring programs, this gave me an idea: Host an assembly for students in older grades and gear the topic around the idea of giving back to the community.  If it is successful, I can look into the possibility of making it an annual event.

Veteran Assembly

I came up with the idea of a Veteran Assembly for a few reasons.  First, I think it is very important for young students to understand that serving in the military does not always revolve around war and the battlefield.  They do a lot for the communities they serve.  Working in the Records, Registration & Veteran Services Office, some of my team members focus mainly on working with our student veteran population.  We have three staff members who have served in the military, and they would make great resources for helping the assembly to showcase their personal story and journey in military life.

Veteran Services Coordinator, Patrick Forystek with items collected in November 2016 for Veterans Returning Home, Inc.

Veterans and their Foot Stamp

Later this month, we will be heading to Blackwell for the assembly, which will probably last for an hour.  We will share a short video, and the veterans will give a presentation during the first half hour.  During the second half of the program, students will have an opportunity to thank local veterans by writing cards and short letters.

My hope is that this Veteran Assembly will provide a learning lesson for these students.  Specifically the following:

  1. Inspire the younger generation to value and respect the military.  Freedom is not free.  There is a cost involved.  When they see someone in their dress blues or fatigues, reach out - say, thank you, and ask about their story.
  2. Realize that many of us are touched by active military and veterans.  So many of us have family members who have served our country.
  3. Military life is not glamorous, but it gives individuals a chance to see the world, an appreciation for what they have, and opportunities can open up that they might not have had by staying in their home town (college tuition pad for with the GI Bill), and valuable, transferable skills for the workforce.

The cards and letters will be collected at the end of the program.  The goal is to mail them to Veterans Returning Home, Inc. based in Roseville.  Walsh has established a connection with the VRH over the past several years.  We have hosted several collection drives, we have helped paint at the non-profit, written "thank you" notes, and even delivered a basket of fruit from the department around the holidays.

Baskets that were delivered to Veterans Returning Home, Inc. during a holiday season.

If you are interested in volunteering for a future tutoring date, please complete the interest form.

Walsh is a Military Friendly School

The College has been awarded "Best for Vets" in 2016 by the Military Times and has received several other accolades.  For more information on how to use GI benefits, financial aid, the staff and student veteran organization visit www.walshcollege.edu/veterans.

What do you think is important to teach young children about military service?

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