Buddies help when a parent is deployed

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***When you are a kid and one of your parents is deployed, you have a lot
of feelings and thoughts about it. And sometimes, the only person who
understands is another kid.

That is why Ramstein school counselors have paired elementary and high
school students to be buddies. A little buddy can confide in a big
buddy, or ask questions. A big buddy can share their experience and
help ease concerns and fears.

“My dad was gone a lot when I was a kid,” said Levi Lasky, junior at
Ramstein American High School. “It’s nice to have someone to help you

“Deployment Buddies,” in its second year, has students meeting once a
month for an organized activity. Their first meeting was Oct. 21, at
Ramstein American Elementary School. About 40 pairs met, talked, sang
songs and colored. Later, they will write letters together to their
deployed parents.

“It helps them see they are special, but not alone,” said Sue Mills,
Ramstein American Elementary School counselor. “It gives them a little
extra attention when a parent is gone.”

When one parent is deployed, routines change and that can be disruptive
and disconcerting, said parent Eva Culbreth, who has a 9-year-old son
and a husband who was recently deployed.

“It’s difficult,” said Mrs. Culbreth, president of the Ramstein
Officer’s Spouses Club, which passed out treats to kids at their

Deployment Buddies show children that they are cared about by the whole community, Culbreth said.

“They need that,” she said.

High school counselor Maryann Porter said the program is a chance for
high school students to feel needed and share their experience.

“The high school students could be upset that they have a parent gone,”
she said. “They see the little ones, and they know it affects them too.”