Serving alongside: Honoring military children, April concludes as Month of the Military Child
04.27.2017 | By Andrea Vasquez
HOUSTON – As April comes to a close and Memorial Day is on the horizon, the stories of military families and their children are given a special recognition by the U.S. Department of Defense which designates April as the Month of the Military Child.
Growing up in a military family, 19-year-old San Jacinto College student Mary Wilburn has a unique perspective in family dynamics. Both of her parents served in the U.S. Navy, and Wilburn says that they have always had a positive impact on her academic success.
“Having military parents made me work harder in school,” she said. “For me it was more about showing them that I’m working hard and giving things my best effort at all times. I never wanted them to feel like I wasn’t trying.”
Curiosity often opens the door to conversation, even in grade school, so when her classmates would ask if her parents experienced PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), Wilburn saw it as an opportunity to educate them on the subject and talk about her own experiences with her parents. “When you grow up with military parents, you know more about them and things they’ve gone through, more so than civilian families. I would explain how everyone copes with PTSD differently- it’s as unique as the person who has it. As their child, you get accustomed to those intricate coping aspects, and eventually you don’t even think about it- it’s just a part of your family’s functionality.”
These experiences have helped her in her role as a federal work-study student in the San Jacinto College Central Campus veteran center. “I can definitely read the room faster than others might. I can usually tell when someone is having a bad day or is stressed about something by their facial expression and their body language. This helps me know what to say and what not to say. I don’t take offense if they do come in angry or frustrated because I understand that, and I just try to keep things as positive as possible.”
Like Wilburn, 22-year-old Cauaron Davis’ father Shamez Davis served in the Navy. After Cauaron enrolled to take courses at San Jacinto College, Shamez also chose to enroll in courses in the College’s maritime program. Both father and son shared their experiences of what life is often like as a military family.
“It hurts when your parent has to be deployed, especially during wartime,” said Cauaron Davis. “I think the designation of Month of the Military Child opens up the subject for people to talk about their experiences, most importantly the families of military members. Being a military child is a unique experience all together.”
Shamez Davis added that the military spouses and children serve right alongside the military member. “Kids and spouses are affected by deployments and the every-day aspects of military life just as much as the military member,” he said. “Kids have to leave the school they’ve been attending and go somewhere else and make new friends all over again. Spouses have to decide to either go along and find a new job or stay behind while their spouse moves to their next duty station. It’s tough, and there’s a lot of unseen sacrifices the children and spouses go through. It’s great to have an observance like Month of Military Child to pay tribute to the sacrifices the children of military families make.”
San Jacinto College has three Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success where veterans and their dependents can earn more about the College’s veteran services, education benefits and other available veteran resources.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.