Nearly every small hand shot into the air when the speaker asked how many children experienced the deployment of a parent. That’s because all of The Barry Robinson Center’s residents come from military-connected families.
On Tuesday, September 11, these residents participated in a heartwarming service project to support other military-connected children.
Children from military families face unique challenges when mom or dad deploy or return home from deployment, sometimes with physical and psychological wounds. Fortunately, many of those children receive support from The Comfort Crew for Military Kids. For more than 10 years, the organization has provided proven resources to families to help children cope with deployments, reconnections, parent illness and loss.
This mission to support military children makes The Comfort Crew a natural partner for The Barry Robinson Center. The Center provided financial support and hands-on help to The Comfort Crew. Residents assembled 100 deployment kits for Navy families in Hampton Roads. This was the second time residents packed kits for The Comfort Crew.
“This is a unique opportunity for us – to have a group where all of the children are from military families – serving to support other military kids,” said Ronda Englander, The Comfort Crew co-founder and executive director. “It’s a chance to create peer to peer interaction, encourage them to think about other kids and do something nice for them.”
The deployment kits include plush comfort bear Cuzzie®, an animated With You All the Way! DVD created by The Comfort Crew and the USO, a guided writing journal, postcards, and a pair of dog tags to share with the deploying parent.
Angela Salyer McDonald, chief operating officer for The Comfort Crew, explained the kit elements and showed residents how to dress Cuzzie and assemble the kits. The youngest residents had the very important task of hugging each of the 100 Cuzzies and “sending them off with love,” a job they embraced whole-heartedly.
“Our staff looks for service projects that our residents can take part in, and this one is a winner for everyone,” said Rob McCartney, Barry Robinson CEO. “The Comfort Crew has a wait list of military families who have requested deployment kits. It’s our privilege to support them and enable them to help more families.”
Learn more about The Comfort Crew and their resources for military families.