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Dealing with ‘Living in the New Normal’

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2008 5:24 am | Updated: 5:10 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Joshua Winata

The Cove Herald

Working as a counselor at Copperas Cove High School, Marcy London has seen students dealing with a range of struggles.

One student had a military father who lost the ability to walk in an automobile accident. When dad went to San Antonio to get treatment, the student was left living with his grandmother, who until then hadn’t been a part of his life.

In another family, the father suffered from a stroke shortly after returning from Iraq.

“It affected his whole way of living, and so now this family is living in the new normal, and they needed some resources just on who to talk to and how to get him help,” London said.

With a new strategic initiative by the Military Child Education Coalition called Living in the New Normal, London and other counselors in the Copperas Cove Independent School District are getting those resources to help support children through trauma and loss.

Central Texas is the first to implement the initiative in January, which involves Fort Hood, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Belton and Temple. The committee in Copperas Cove, chaired by CCISD administrator Carol Rogers, began its work in April.

One of the primary functions of the initiative is to provide resources for military families through research and networking. With a plethora of support and counseling groups available through Fort Hood and other communities, LINN acts as a an one-stop hub for those seeking assistance.

“We’re hoping to be more of a clearinghouse or a hook up, not reinvent the wheel,” Rogers said. “Most people here have resources, but sometimes the people that need the resources the most don’t ask.”

Rogers said she also hopes to reach children in National Guard units or military reserves that are scattered throughout the region and may not have access to services on post.

The committee behind the initiative is working through CCISD as the front line to help military students dealing with trauma and loss. Counselors in all the school have received training through various workshops on how to recognize when children are going through difficulties and how to deal specifically with military issues.

“There’s still things going on with the children that the family might not be dealing with because they don’t realize it, and the teachers don’t really know that the family’s going through it,” London said. “I think it makes sense. If you’re dealing with children, we’re kind of the first line.”

Informative handouts with various resources are available at counselors’ offices, and a flyer was distributed with the city’s water bills in December and early January.

LINN is also providing training to interested community members through the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Marty Smith said invitations with information about the training have been sent out to local businesses, and the response has been positive.

Stickers with the LINN logo will also be distributed the the Chamber to designate locations that have trained citizens who can assist military children.

“We need to pull together,” Rogers said. “This is not just their problem. This is our problem.”

The committee is planning a free community event on May 31 at Central Texas College. The event will feature speakers and civic organizations that focus on Cove resources and activities for military families.

While LINN is still in its formative stages and still seeking for its niche in the community, Rogers emphasized that the goal is simply to be available to military children and families and help them in whatever way they can.

“We’re not trying to get in their business, and we’re not trying to interfere in anyway. The whole idea is to try to get people to notice what’s going on around them,” Rogers said. “Sometimes it’s just listening, and sometimes that’s done over the back fence.”

Contact Joshua Winata at jpwinata@kdhnews.com or call (254) 547-6481

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