By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2007 – About 300 children and spouses of deployed servicemembers enjoyed free activities and programs Sept. 22 during “Deployed Family Fun Day” at a Coast Guard installation near Fort Belvoir, Va.
“Our primary focus was toward the children who have a parent who is deployed overseas,” said Dawn Fincham, outreach manager for the USO of Metropolitan Washington. “We also wanted to (include) the ” spouses who are (left) behind to watch the children.”
The United Service Organizations is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad. USO Metro and the Metropolitan Military Information Exchange, an information resource for servicemembers and their families, teamed to host the event.
Children at the event, held on the grounds of the Coast Guard Telecommunications and Information Systems Command, enjoyed five inflatable bouncers, face painting, crafts, and board games. Meanwhile, parents had the option of attending informational sessions. Those included everything from information on how to parent while a spouse is deployed, a women‘s self-defense class and presentations on how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Parents also had access to a plethora of information and resources thanks to the Metropolitan Military Information Exchange.
“We had one lady (who’s) only been here in our area for about two months and her husband (is) deployed,” Fincham said. “She thought it was really great that there was one central location with all this information brought in and at the same time.”
The first-time event, which children and spouses from all branches of the service attended, was an all-around success, she added.
“Everybody says we ” should do it on a quarterly basis,” Fincham said.
She said she’s quite sure the event will take place again, but when is still to be determined.