Local school leadership program aims to help out military connected kids

HONOR THEIR SERVICE: JS2S gets military kids involved in schools, the community

Military families move. That’s no surprise. So how do the kids who have to re-adjust to new schools cope with the changes? The Junior, Student 2 Student program, as part of the Military Child Education Coalition, aims to make that transition a little easier.

“It’s designed to support military connected families and the transitions that people go through when they move from school to school,” said Asst. Principal at Southwest Middle School, Dustin Blaha.

Southwest Middle School is one of three other middle schools in the state to adopt the leadership program, JS2S.

“The students are the brains behind the operation,” said teacher, Timmi Bubac. “How can we connect with each other? That’s their role more than mine. I just provide a little oversight.”

But getting involved with this group, hits home for Bubac, who knows the military life well herself.

“We’re lucky because we are national guard and my husband doesn’t have to relocate but I know that is not the case that many do,” Bubac.

The kids in the program don’t have to be connected to the military within their own families. They just have to have a willingness to include military connected kids and have a desire to help them feel at home.

“I’m not connected to a military family but I do know that is a hard thing to go through no matter what,” said SWMS student, Rowan Hibbard.

Rowan, along with six other students in the leadership team, was able to host an ice cream social for new students Wednesday afternoon. An event that couldn’t have happened without a $2,600 grant awarded earlier this year from Northrup Grumman, that will go towards other events through the year and onward.

“Before the grant, we weren’t sure how to facilitate a lot of the things the students wanted to do,” said Bubac. “They brainstormed what they wanted to do so the grant is a huge resource for us.”

Now, the students are well on their way to sharing smiles and building friendships.

“I hope that the new students that are coming in, military or not, start to feel involved, have more friends, and connections with people,” said SWMS student, Kara Daum.

“I feel proud of them that they want to step up and be leaders and care about each other. They care about military connected families. They really honor the service,” said Bubac.

In addition to military connected students, the program helps other kids who are new to the school feel included and welcome as well.

Categories: Honor Their Service, Local News, South Dakota News