News: PRT Farah 13-16 Kicks Off United Through Reading Program During Pre-Deployment Training
Story by Lt.j.g. Matthew Stroup
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - Soldiers and sailors from Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah 13-16 kicked off the United Through Reading program during pre-deployment training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Aug. 29.
Team members read books to their loved ones during a short break in training, to help maintain family connections during a long training cycle in preparation for deployment. PRT Farah is currently preparing for an upcoming deployment to Farah province, Afghanistan, where the team will train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial level.
United Through Reading enables deployed parents to share their love and support with their children by reading books aloud on DVD. Service members can also read to younger siblings, nieces, nephews, and other extended family members as well as to other children whom they mentor.
PRT Farah 13-16’s Commanding Officer, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Lou McCray, fully supports the program. “Personal fortitude is a big part of our command philosophy, and United Through Reading supports the strong family connections that foster personal growth and fortitude. We all know that reading to children in their developmental years is of great benefit, and this program not only helps to connect deployed families, but it helps children grow as well.”
“Military commands love this program,” said Sally Ann Zoll, Ed. D., chief executive officer of United Through Reading. “It minimizes deployment miles and helps military personnel parent from afar. The reassurance of seeing the deployed service member and having them talk to their children provides immense relief to the child and the spouse at home. The morale of the whole family is boosted.”
Through United Through Reading deployed parents get a chance to share their love and support and children receive essential communication and literacy skills. While in the past, military personnel have been able to write letters, e-mail and send audio cassettes, United Through Reading offers children a chance to see their parent’s face, listen to their voice and read along as their parent reads them a children’s story. It also allows them to spend as much time with the deployed parent as they wish by watching the DVD over and over again.
U.S. Navy Master at Arms 1st Class Joseph German (SW/AW) took the opportunity to read to his boys during the program’s kick off at Camp Atterbury. “I’ve used the program once before,” said German. “My kids really enjoyed getting the DVD during my deployment in Kuwait. I really think that they’ll continue to benefit from using the program whenever I have a chance to use it.”
“Deployment doesn’t only affect those who have volunteered for service. It affects hundreds of thousands of children as well,” said Zoll. “Our goal is to lessen the strain of separation and increase bonding through the positive, educational experience that reading aloud provides.”
Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah 13-16 is scheduled to deploy this fall to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial level in Farah province, Afghanistan. Their civil-military team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
This work, PRT Farah 13-16 Kicks Off United Through Reading Program During Pre-Deployment Training, by LTJG Matthew Stroup, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.