In 2013, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, then commanding general of Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps directed an initiative to revitalize the Adopt-a-School program as the Fort Bragg Military School Partnership Program.
According to information provided by Frank Hanan, community relations chief, Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office, since the program’s inception, several units have partnered with local schools to foster good community relations, contribute military resources and services and to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth of children on the installation and in surrounding areas.
The focus is on high schools and middle schools, said Hanan.
“If they (units) have the assets to support local schools, they do,” he explained.
The units provide support for science, technology, engineering and math programs, as well as engage in activities such as reading to students, career shadowing, tutoring/mentoring, assisting with student projects, serving as guest speakers and providing support for field day activities.
Activities that should not be performed by Fort Bragg service members include serving as ushers, bag handlers, guards, escorts for pageants or similar events, security activities or judging projects or providing grading services.
Soldiers are not allowed to proctor exams while in uniform, Hanan added.
The 525th Military Intelligence Brigade has consistently worked with Cumberland County Schools, including Douglas Byrd, Ramsey and with Alger B. Wilkins High schools. The brigade has conducted three military fairs and participated in a “Check and Connect” Dinner, said Maj. Heather Hall, PAO, 525th MI Bde.
Additionally, Soldiers are scheduled to attend a “Launch Party” today at Alger B. Wilkins.
“The intent of the ‘Launch Party’ is to encourage dropout students to return to school,” explained Hall.
What do the schools think?
Jeff May serves as a youth development coordinator for Cumberland County Schools.
“It’s a great program because it further brings together our community. Fort Bragg is such an integral part of Fayetteville as a whole,” May said.
“It grabs kids who are influenced by the military and offers Fort Bragg an opportunity to give back in ways they probably couldn’t imagine.”
The program also validates the service of military-connected youth, as well as provides direction for those looking for military careers after high school.
“They really get an in-depth look into what it’s really like and that’s what I like doing. I like helping them see it for what it really is,” said Pfc. Veronica Rossi, a Soldier assigned to the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion who took part in the military fair at DBHS.
May agreed.
“It gives them (youth) a second chance at making their education count,” he said.
Partnering with local schools seemingly provides a sense of accomplishment.
“By participating in the Fort Bragg Military School Partnership Program, we are investing in the future of our society, our profession and our nation,” Hall said.