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Saturday , October 20 2018
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Fearless Falcons Program helps Bliss Elementary Students Cope, Lead

A Bliss Elementary School program designed to help the children of deployed troops cope with military life has transformed into a leadership-training curriculum that is helping students soar.

The Fearless Falcon Support Group is helping dozens of students learn important life skills, but now – with the help of important partners in education – students are also developing into ambassadors and leaders in their campus.

Nermin Overby, Bliss Elementary Focus on Families Intervention Specialist, said the program’s evolution has helped families deal with the hardships of having a parent deployed oversees. But most importantly, the connections and training they receive have helped them thrive as students and as military children.

Students work side-by-side with 3-6 CAV soldiers once a week, focusing on topics such as self-esteem, communication, problem-solving and team-building skills.

“The soldiers come and volunteer their time to serve as mentors,” Overby said. “They serve as role models and the students really like working with them.”

Army Pfc. Simone Victor enjoys coming to the school and talking to the students because the students remind her of her 9-year-old brother back at home in New York state.

“All the kids are funny and super smart. I think it’s great there’s programs like this to help students and guide them to know what to do in tough situations,” Victor said. “I hope they can learn the basic values, such as sharing and caring.”

The last two weeks, students have been learning how to deal with bullying.

Fourth-grader Taylor Whiteaker, a graduate of the Fearless Falcons program who is now a peer leader, shared how he felt when he was bullied.

“It made me upset, and didn’t know what to do,” Taylor said. “We have been learning that bullying is bad and how to take care of someone who is being bullied. This program has helped me make more friends, and I’m helping people learn what to do and what not to do.”

Like Taylor, Bliss fifth-grader Ja’lyn Lesar has flourished in the Fearless Falcons program.

“I like it here because it teaches you important lessons, and you get to do fun stuff,” Ja’lyn said. “I would tell other students to try it out and this place is super cool, and I like it very, very much.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy
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