Fort Bragg, NC | May 5, 2014
On the morning of April 1, Bowley Elementary and Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps celebrated the Month of the Military Child. Over 400 students, faculty, and staff raised the nation’s colors and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Not nearly enough time was spent to aptly recognize military children for the gift they are to their parents and the community.
What made this day all the more special was the unique relationship that has been reformed between HHB, XVIII Abn.Corps and Bowley Elementary School.
Just as a Soldier must reintegrate with his or her spouse after deployment, so must the military community reconnect with its broader community after deployment
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, then commander of Fort Bragg and XVIII Abn. Corps and current commander of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command recognized a need to reestablish some of these community bonds.
In August 2013, Anderson began a conversation with the Fort Bragg Department of Defense Education leadership. At a meeting attended by the district superintendents and Fort Bragg principals, Anderson asked, “who needs a partner?”
Andrea Mial, principal of Bowley Elementary School, immediately raised her hand and on that day was born the first of a renewed program of Fort Bragg School partnerships.
On Dec. 10, 2013, a group of six paratroopers from the XVIII Abn. Corps headquarters began a Math Mentor Program at Bowley, engaging third, fourth, and fifth graders who volunteer to participate in this unique, extra-curricular forum.
The goal of a math mentor is to provide a positive, adult, role model in the student’s life in the hopes that the relationship will lead to increased math academic performance, self-esteem and emotional development.
The program comprises 10 caring mentors who consistently spend quality time with 20 students with a vision to grow over the coming months and years.
The School Partnership Program is gaining momentum comprising close to 20 brigade-level organizations partnering with every Fort Bragg school.
“Community interest and engagement goes a long way toward helping students realize their academic, social and emotional balance and achievement,” said Mial of the program.