AFAP Concern and Issue Form
Supporting Those Who Serve
Together, we are committed to building strong communities.
We, the Community, recognize:
- The commitment Soldiers and Families are making every day.
- The strength of Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families.
- The strength of Families is supported by the strength of the Community.
- The strength of the Community comes from the support of Employers, Educators, Civic and Business Leaders and its Citizens.
We, the Community, are committed to:
- Building partnerships that support the strength, resilience and readiness of Soldiers and their Families.
- Assisting in the implementation of the Army Family Covenant.
The Community Covenant has motivated the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (DFMWR) to embrace existing partnerships and work together to forge new partnerships to build a bridge to Excellence in Education for young children. Partnerships such as the existing one with Lawton Public School where Pre-Kindergarten is taught on post inside one of the existing Child Development Centers. This partnership serves as proof to the commitment from the installation and our local schools. For Pre-Kindergarten on post the Lawton Public School provides the teachers, the State of Oklahoma provides the funding, and the DFMWR provides the facility. This is a true win – win partnership between the school, state and installation to bring quality education to our young children, in a safe and quality environment. The end result is a positive educational experience for our military children and parents. Now that we have executed the first school year we have shown a positive increase in parent participation at school and child development center activities, and a constant stream of requests to expand the offering to more students. In fact, in school year 2010-2011, two additional classrooms were offered allowing DFMWR to expand this partnership and provide state funded Pre-Kindergarten to more military children on the installation in which they live.
In addition DFMWR hosted an Education Exposition in which local schools from all 17 school districts, local private schools, and area universities displayed information about school curriculums, sports, and special services available to parents and family members.
ARMY SPOUSE EMPL OYMENT PARTNERSHIP:
Representatives from several local businesses have partnered with Fires Center – Fort Sill to increase employment and career opportunities for military spouses.
The Army Community Service Employment Readiness Program (ERP) has developed 42 local partnerships which have been directly successful in employing 383 spouses.
ARMY PARTNERSHIP WITH LAWTON AREA SCHOOLS (APLAS):
APLAS was established to assist in maintaining a cooperative effort between the Fires Center – Fort Sill and the Lawton Public Schools, while improving citizenship and learning experiences of military children in Lawton’s elementary, middle, and senior high schools.
The program includes: Parental Involvement Program, Unit / School Partnership, Mentorship Program, and Leadership Program. Over 1,000 Soldiers have volunteered to mentor middle school students and partner with elementary school students.
This partnership links local businesses with installation military units to promote involvement of all Fort Sill Soldiers as active participants in the Lawton/Fort Sill Community.
Community involvement improves understanding between Soldiers and their Civilians counterparts, while improving the ecological environment along with economical and social conditions of the local area.
Voluntary involvement is encouraged to enhance individual and unit morale functions such as the annual Lawton Fort Sill Spring Clean Up, Buffalo Burger Cookout, and Fall Sports Weekend.
Camp Cowabunga, in cooperation with Lawton Public Schools, is a day camp for individuals with special needs between the ages of 6 and 21.
Camp Cowabunga is another opportunity in which partnering offers more than 100 children with special needs a rewarding summer camp experience annually. Together, we provide these children and their parents with one week of respite care and activities that addresses not only their physical needs for recreational fun and teambuilding exercises, but their mental needs for stimulating activities with scrap booking, reading and journaling. The camp is a collaboration of community organizations and businesses coming together to provide these special needs children with experiences that generate pride and increase self-esteem.
This program was developed to promote an interest in Math and Science, and the value of science and technology to the national security posture of the United States.
Through a cooperative effort, Fort Sill local area schools and the Oklahoma National Guard offer 30 classroom hours with stimulating hands-on experiences spread over a 5 week period. A total of 35 classes of instruction per year in the fields of math and science are taught to area 5th graders through the use of this program.
As part of the Army Community Covenant, Fort Sill has joined the Fit Kids coalition to ensure all children in the community have access to, and knowledge of, fitness and nutrition programs. This coalition was formed based on the startling fact that this may be the first generation of youth who are likely to NOT outlive their parents. The partnership promotes initiatives for making healthy living choices. Some of the partnerships developed under the Fit Kids Coalition include Safe Routes to School, girls and boys intramurals sports, 4th grade fitness testing, Friends of the Trail, healthy food options in the Lawton Public Schools and the Commanding General’s Challenge. The Fit Kids Coalition has been recognized by the Oklahoma State Department of Health for its dedication to improving the health of Oklahoma.
Partners for Patriots:
A program being coordinated by Cameron University, Central Texas University, Great Plains VoTech, and others to provide up to 30 hours of FREE tutoring for Soldiers and Family members in preparation for a college education.
Gateway to Success Transitional Program:
The Gateway to Success Transitional Program is another example of the partnership between Fort Sill and Lawton Public Schools. The program, designed for 18-22 year-olds, provides special needs students on-the-job training to help with the transition from school to work. The students involved in the program have met the academic requirements to graduate high school, but need some additional guidance to transition into the work force. The goals of the partnership are to develop behavior, relationships, career and life skills in the students. Each student is interviewed and placed within an organization that fits their personal interests. During the fall semester of 2010, 11 of the 46 students enrolled in the program worked in a DFMWR positions.
Military Child Committee:
The Military Child Committee is a partnership instituted between the local school districts and Fort Sill, which enhances the well-being of military children, and all children facing the challenge of transitioning between schools. Military Kids’ Clubs are available in most schools in Southwest Oklahoma. This is a positive step towards good transitioning practices and is especially important to our military students during the two-week acclimation period when transitioning into a new school.
Parent 2 Parent Cadre Team:
The Parent 2 Parent Cadre Team, tasked by the Military Child Education Coalition, works with the Fort Sill community and local schools to present workshops that educate parents on issues such as how to be an advocate for their children, what questions to ask school administrators and teachers, and what items to hand-carry to the next duty station. Benefits include authorizing time for Soldier parents to become involved in their child’s educational experience.
What does having a SWOK Community Covenant mean for this area?:
The community covenant underscores the ongoing commitment our Southwest Oklahoma Communities have made toward providing support to all Service Members and their Families that reside in the local area. We are blessed to have an incredibly strong working relationship with our Southwest Oklahoma communities, which include but are not limited to Lawton, Elgin, Cache, Medicine Park, Fletcher, Marlow, Faxon, Geronimo, Walters, Sterling and Duncan. This relationship is evident in our Schools where we have all local communities as signatories of the Secondary Education Transition Study, our recent recognition with the Pete Taylor Award, the Interstate Compact which Rep Ann Coody sponsored, and the list goes on and on of incredible partnerships that are not only geared toward supporting our military but all members of this great community.
What is the significance of the ceremony?
As mentioned, the ceremony will be the formal event that underscores the incredible relationship, but it’s also a time for the military leadership to say thank you to the community for the support provided. In addition, it will serve as the forum for which we unveil additional partnerships that we have working with our local communities in support of our Service Members and their Families.
What is the community’s role in the SWOK Community Covenant?
Fort Sill will continue to work with our communities to make sure that we are active participants in a number of partnerships that are geared to improve the lives of all community members. We have many great initiatives both at the national, state and local level already, such as:
- In-State Tuition: At all state institutions of higher learning, the children of Soldiers residing in the state are provided in-state tuition – even when that Soldier moves out of the state.
- Interstate Compact: Oklahoma is one of ten states where the Governor has signed the Interstate Compact into law.
- Military Spouse Unemployment Compensation – Oklahoma is one of 21
participating states in the program, providing unemployment compensation to spouses who leave employment because of a military move.
- Care for the Guard and Reserve: Oklahoma provides a variety of support to Guard and Reservists through educational benefits, tax and financial benefits, family support programs, special protections, recognition, licensing and registration support, and employment support.