SOFAR Guide for Helping Children and Youth Cope With the Deployment of a Parent in the National Guard or Other Military Reserves
As the Chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services I work with leaders throughout the Commonwealth who care for our veterans and their family members day in and day out. One of these leaders is the Massachusetts based group Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists (SOFAR.) SOFAR has developed a resourceful guide for education professionals to learn how to best help students affected by having a family member deployed.
The "SOFAR Guide for Helping Children and Youth Cope With the Deployment of a Parent in the National Guard or Other Military Reserves" is a booklet written to help teachers and other school personnel help their students when a family member is serving or has returned from service in Iraq or Afghanistan. As first responders in the lives of children, school personnel may be the first people to notice problems in learning and behavior that affect these children. There is no such thing as a soldier or veteran without a family. These family members include children, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins and grandchildren; many of who may be in your school system unbeknownst to school personnel.
I ask that you distribute this guide to the schools and employees under your jurisdiction and that school principals discuss the content with their staff. I hope this information about the experience of deployment and return will acquaint the school personnel about the special problems that impact these children and allow the schools to ease the burdens these families face when a soldier deploys and returns from war.
Thank you for your continued dedication to our students.
Timothy P. Murray