For Immediate Release — April 29, 2013 | Pacific
Lawrence Torres III: Public Affairs Specialist | 644-5786
More than 5,500 DoDEA Pacific elementary school students danced, sang and reflected on military family life April 16-26 during "The Little C.H.A.M.P.S." book tour with author Debbie Fink.
The tour took place in 13 DoDEA Pacific elementary schools throughout mainland Japan and the island of Okinawa. "The Little C.H.A.M.P.S" is authored by the mother-daughter team Debbie and Jennifer Fink who have teamed with the United Service Organizations to provide the book to children in military families as a way to help them cope and thrive as a military dependent. The project is part of the USO's Grant a Wish for Our Heroes initiative.
"The Little C.H.A.M.P.S," serves as a public health initiative to provide coping tools for children with military families facing challenges. The initiative is also designed to celebrate their service to our country and to raise awareness among civilian children about the lives of their military-connected peers.
Many children approached Debbie after each session to ask about the book, talk about the song or share their story.
"The Little C.H.A.M.P.S (Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel)," was read and presented by the author Debbie Fink to more than 5,500 students in 13 schools throughout Japan and Okinawa April 16-26. For more information: http://www.harmonyhearth.com
"A giggly group of girl Champs approached me and the spokes girl said, 'We love our 'Little C.H.A.M.P.S' song! We listen to it over and over, and your 'Heart Smart' song is awesome!'" said Debbie. "Then their stream of questions tripped over each other. 'Did you really write it for your kids? Did you really fix it for us? Was that really your daughter singing? Is it on YouTube? She's got a pretty voice! So does the USO lady who sang!'"
Chuckling, Debbie answered, "Yes, yes, yes, not yet, though it's posted on OperationChamps.org – but ask a parent to look for it with you. And thanks – I'll tell them you said they have pretty voices!"
The book follows the children of five Service members who represent different branches of the military as they endure the trials of deployment, saying goodbye and parents returning home as wounded warriors. The book concludes with lyrics for "The Little C.H.A.M.P.S" song reminding children that "Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean we'll miss you, until we meet again!"
About DoDEA Pacific:
The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, DoD schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America's heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific's 49 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,300 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.
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About the USO:
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America's troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors. In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President's Circle Partners: American Airlines, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Northrop Grumman Corporation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: AT&T, Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and Procter & Gamble. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381).To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.