MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Children, Marines and parents participated in Superheroes and Princesses, an event at Yujo Hall aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Aug. 21, 2013, as part of the Family Readiness and Deployment Program.
Superheroes and Princesses used a unique spin on an ordinary Mid-Deployment Workshop that is geared toward helping children deal with their parents being away.
Kids dressed as their favorite superhero or princess to honor heroes in their lives.
“If you say mid-deployment, some people think about that seven month deployment ... since we don’t really have (seven month deployments) a whole lot here, I wanted to give (Mid-Deployment Workshop) a different title,” said Jennifer Carr, Marine Corps Family Team Building family readiness and deployment trainer.
Carr took a new route with the curriculum and made it more activity based than just information.
“She designed this around the Mid-Deployment for Success for Kids, but the curriculum is very cut and dry like you’re supposed to teach it to them,” said Alexandra Patrocino, MCFTB life skills trainer. “Being the creative trainer she is, she figured this might be a more appropriate avenue to do it.”
The kids colored, made picture frames and played games during the three hour workshop while building relationships with children who are sharing a similar experience.
“It gives them a positive outlet to actually discuss these things that they might not of otherwise discussed,” said Patrocino.
Carr is a mother of three kids with a husband currently in Okinawa and knows the importance of having outlets for children of deployed parents to express their feelings.
This class is important because it helps the children get together with the other kids and realize the feelings they have are normal, explained Carr.
Children of deployed servicemembers are not the only ones who are allowed at events like these, all children aboard station are welcome.
“There were a couple of kids here who didn’t have their parents deployed but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their parents are never going to be deployed,” said Patrocino.
Deployment workshops help the entire family benefit from the Family Readiness and Deployment Program, said Carr.
The Family Readiness and Deployment Program also offers classes for spouses and teenagers.
The Taking Care of You series, a Mid-Deployment workshop for spouses, is available monthly and there are Deployment Lunches at school for teenagers.
“We don’t deploy a lot here from Iwakuni but they are going on a lot of two month missions,” said Carr. “Family members going over to Okinawa for school, or back to the states for training so (these workshops) are something to get the kids and the community together to deal with those issues.”