Military children have an easier time coping with the frequent changes in their lives when their parents work together with educators to make sure children's academic and social-emotional needs are met.
Bernice (L) and Calista Varela
Bernice Varela, whose daughter Calista attends El Camino High School in the Oceanside Unified School District, is an example of such a parent.
The wife of Navy Commander Gabriel Varela, the captain of the U.S.S. Kidd, Mrs. Varela donates time to help El Camino's Military Alliance Club because she says she knows how much it is supporting 14-year-old Calista when her father is deployed.
"For this age, it is priceless. I believe it's preventing a lot of deep emotions kids can go through," Mrs. Varela says about the club, which was created by USC MSW intern Eric Henderson.
The club gives her daughter, who is also on the school's cross country team, a chance to share concerns and experiences with other military
Calista and her father, Commander Gabriel Varela
children. Meanwhile, Mrs. Varela has been giving back by helping out during club activities, such as a community Veterans Day ceremony and collecting holiday gifts for local military families.
"Parents need to be involved," she says. "Anyway that I can possibly help, I step in there."
Henderson calls Mrs. Varela a "prime example of how parents can support their children in and out of school while managing the challenges of deployed military life."