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Mission Homefront Resources

Center for Safe Schools Mission Homefront Initiative provides valuable resources for Pennsylvania’s families and school personnel dealing with the impact of deployment on children and youth.

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Highlighted Resources

Working Effectively with Military Families:10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know

Department of Defense Parent Toolkit
The Department of Defense Special Needs Parent Toolkit has comprehensive information and tools that are geared towards helping military families with special needs children navigate the maze of medical and special education services, community support and benefits and entitlements. The Toolkit is broken down into six colorful modules that can be easily downloaded and printed. The Toolkit includes important facts, records, tools and sample letters.

Surviving Deployment: A Guide for Military Families by Karen Pavlicin
Talks about how to stay together as a family, how to adjust to long absences and uncertain communications, how to overcome the challenges of single-family parenting and new responsibilities, and how to manage financially through a blend of personal stores from hundreds of fellow military families and checklists.

Toolkit Available to Help Educators Understand Needs of Military Children
Of the 1.2 million school-age children of our nation's service members, the majority (more than 80 percent) attend public schools. Although many of these schools are located near military installations, many more are not. The 625,000 children of National Guard members and Reservists often attend schools that may be located in an area with no military installations or supporting organizations nearby. Although most schools that serve these children have a sincere desire to help, the information needed is not always readily available. The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) is a professional organization with a membership base of more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. With a grant from the Veterans Support Foundation AASA worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to develop an online toolkit to raise awareness and encourage advocacy regarding the education needs of military children and to offer resources to the school administrators serving these students. The AASA Toolkit: Supporting the Military Child includes tips for school leaders on building connections, promoting academics, and offering support; fact sheets about military children, Impact-Aid funding, and the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity; and other resources.

Traumatic Grief in Military Children - Information for Educators
Traumatic Grief in Military Children - Information for Families
Educators and school personnel play important roles in supporting military children who have experienced loss. Although educators cannot, and should not, take on the responsibility of providing therapy to children who are grieving, they can be valuable partners in observing children, creating supportive environments, and knowing when to suggest referral to a mental health professional. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), in partnership with the National Military Family Association, Zero-to-Three, TAPS, and more, has developed a series of three documents on traumatic grief in military children. According to the NCTSN “the series provides culturally competent materials for educating families, medical professionals, and school personnel about how to better serve military children who are experiencing traumatic grief.”

Uncle Sam's Kids - When Duty Calls by Angela Sportelli-Rehak
Shows parents and caregivers how to address the distinct stages of deployment such as worry, anger, detachment, sadness, recovery and anticipation of homecoming by using fun coping techniques, listening and normalizing common concerns, involvement in some decisions, discovering strength in family and community while promoting patriotism.

Veterans Day 2009 Teacher Resource Guide
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Day National Committee are pleased to provide this Teacher Resource Guide. The guide includes: suggested activities for Veterans Day, information for older students including handouts on the origins of Veterans Day, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, statistics on America’s wars, and scholarships; and subjects for younger students such as a Veterans Day maze and coloring pages.

While They're At War: The true story of American families on the homefront by Kristin Henderson
Sheds light not only on how different military spouses live through the challenges of separation but also valuable information about resources available to families through family support groups and military and community agencies.

A booklet to introduce concerned citizens and educators to issues facing children and families of those serving in the military and assist in creating networks of support for those families.Click on Guard and Reserve Handbook to view and order the publication.


Children and Youth Recommended Reading

Daddy's in Iraq, but I Want him Back by Carmen R. Hoyt
An hour is a long time to a small child. How do you describe the length of a military war deployment to a preschooler? When attempting to tell her son that his Daddy was not going to be gone for just a week or seven wake-ups, but for several months, Carmen Hoyt longed for a better way to lay it out for him. I wished there was a way to help him "get his little arms around" the situation.” Written after the author’s own husband returned safely from Iraq, this story is for pre-school children who have a hard time coping with a parent’s military deployment. “I felt a need for this story to be written when my three year old, Jack, became very insecure upon his father's deployment to the War in Iraq.”

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (for ages 4-8)
Published by the Child Welfare League of America, this book is just the right book for any young child confronting a difficult situation or who is temporarily separated from home or loved ones.

Ned and the General: A Lesson in Deployment by Ron Madison (for elementary aged children)
A book of stories written in rhyme and based on real children affected by deployment. A copy of the book, of Ned and the General, was sent to each school district, IU, elementary school and elementary level charter school in Pennsylvania. For quantity orders of paperback editions, call the author, Ron Madison, at 814-255-6646.

Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut (Author) and Vicki Wehrman (Illustrator)
When a soldier's work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son. Night Catch is a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.

Soldier Mom by Alice Mead (for ages 9-12)
A fictional story of a pre-teen girl who takes on additional responsibilities and experiences personal growth, during her mother’s seven-month deployment to Operation Desert Storm.

While You Are Away by Eileen Spinelli (for pre-school to grade 2)
Three children’s stories of life while their parents are on active military duty abroad, each from a different branch of the armed forces. All three vignettes are upbeat and reassuring, and the book concludes with the safe return of all three loved ones.

Channing-Bete offers an array of publications for service members and their families on topic of deployment including:

  • Let’s Talk About Deployment
  • Information and activity book for children
  • Know What? My Parent is Being Deployed
  • Activity book for ages 6-8
  • Who Knew? The Deployment Issue
  • Activity book for ages 9-11
  • Write from the Heart
  • Stationery kit for military families

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