Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander A. Burnett
21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
A team of resiliency trainers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the 598th Transportation Brigade, and the 838th Transportation Battalion conducted resiliency training with students at Kaiserslautern High School on the Vogelweh Military Complex, March 15.
This visit was in conjunction with the KHS weeklong resiliency forum. During the week, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and local military leaders met with students to discuss career management and building resiliency. Each professional discussed bouncing back from hardship from their own perspective.
“Something very special about the training being provided by the military resiliency trainers is that it’s the same training many of the student’s parents receive,” said KHS school psychologist Kirsten Kone. “I have found that the students listen and take to heart the skills taught by these Soldiers because their parents go through the same training.”
The four NCOs offered their training during two school periods, reaching more than 160 students. Each resiliency trainer took a small group to a different portion of an auditorium to interact with the students on a more personal level. The training goal was to find out what the students thought resiliency means and how they can become more resilient.
“We hope that the students will talk freely with us about how they perceive events in their lives and how they react,” said Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Short, the 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st TSC master resiliency trainer. “We hope to help them put events in their lives into perspective and have a more positive outlook.”
Each trainer gave a brief introduction to their group, then simply asked how everyone in the group was doing. The students spoke to each trainer about subjects varying from how they interact with their parents, dealing with deployments and school dress code policy. With every topic, the trainers encouraged their group to assess each issue and discuss why that topic is so important.
“We want these students to walk away from this with a different view of their world,” Short said. “A lot of these kids deal with peer pressure and they think high school will never end. We want them to have a different perspective so they can see a bigger picture of the world.”
As each session came to a close, it was apparent that both the students and their trainers enjoyed taking this time to talk. Students asked the school faculty for just a little more time to discuss their issues and learn from the Soldiers.
“Building resiliency in these students is so important, because it will help these kids make important life decisions as they get older,” said Sgt. 1st Class Erica Stenson, the operations NCO for the 266th Financial Management Support Center. “I know I had a great time talking to the students, and I think they will walk away with a better understanding of what it means to be resilient.”