Briana Goff, director of the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, was honored with two awards this spring.
She received the K-State Excellence in Engagement Award for her engaged work with the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley as well as national military and veteran initiatives through the Institute. The university-wide awards recognize initiatives that demonstrate innovative and/or sustained efforts in university/community engagement through research, teaching and/or outreach that positively impacts university and community partners.
Dr. Goff also received the Fort Riley Distinguished Trooper Award. Daryl Youngman, associate professor, K-State Libraries, also received a trooper award. They were recognized for the extensive programs they have developed serving soldiers, military families and staff at Fort Riley. In 2014, they received the Department of the Army Commanders Award for Public Service.
Additional information can be found at:
In March, interns Caysi Gatts and Aeriel Dodson operated a booth at the Kansas National Guard Kid’s Carnival at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Topeka. They led children’s activities such as wooden leaf painting and science related-activities. The booth was sponsored by Kansas: Operation Military Kids. More than 70 children participated in activities like face painting, a candy walk, bounce houses and potato sack races. Following the carnival, families and children attended the “Rappin’ Roy & Reggie Reg the Magic Man” show.
Jessica High, Kali Summers and Caysi Gatts attended the first GratitudeAmerica Military Support Urban Retreat in Chicago in March. The purpose of the retreat was to promote community based non-profit integrative intensive retreats for service members and their support persons in the Chicago area.
At the Union League Club of Chicago, 13 veteran/caregiver pairs included veterans and their spouses, parents, or friends. The veteran participants were comprised of active duty and retired military members from all branches.
The Institute’s role was to conduct research and assist with retreat logistics and programs.
The GratitudeAmerica Military Support Retreats are designed to provide education, life skills and community building to increase support for service members and their primary support persons. The curriculum acknowledged the strain deployment can place upon the service members and their families and the various ways they can be impacted throughout sacrifices, fears, and demands they face with their caregiver throughout the deployment cycle. Their approach is therapeutic in nature, but is not psychotherapy or counseling. If participants identified they desired additional services for themselves or their families, community resources were made available.
Events during the retreat included a visit to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, time to explore the city, yoga, iRest meditation, acutherapy and service dog visits. This was the 6th retreat conducted by GratitudeAmerica.
Funding support for Institute staff was provided through a grant from the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development and from private K-State Foundation donors. We thank them for their support of our work with this national program that serves military and veteran families!
The Institute, in conjunction with Kansas: Operation Military Kids, distributed literature about children and deployment, books and other informational tools at the annual Month of the Military Child Festival at Fort Riley in April. The festival is a day devoted to honoring children’s service and providing the families with a variety of resources. April is nationally recognized as the Month of the Military Child, and the purpose of the festival was to celebrate the role of military children. Children of military members face a variety of unique responsibilities and circumstances in supporting their families during deployment and other service. We also had the Institute train up and running full speed for the kids to ride.
Traci Scott, 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar and Regional Liaison Officer for the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, facilitated “What’s Next? Preparing College Students for Success in the Professional World” in May. Hosted by the Institute, professional development panel featured speakers who discussed how to best navigate the professional world. Topics included professional dress, the role social media plays in the hiring process, maintaining a professional resume and gender differences in the work place.
Panelists were Katrina Lewison, manager of project administration at CivicPlus and a retired Army captain; Judy Woodward, health promotion officer of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley; LTC Johnny Casiano, Office of the Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley; CPT Racheal Tax, combat aviation brigade pilot, Fort Riley; and 1LT Josh Humphrey, Military Intelligence Company Executive Officer Delta Company, 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, Fort Riley.
The event was at the Leadership Studies building on campus.
A similar panel is being planned for Fall 2015 at the K-State-Salina Campus.
A link to the panel presentation video can be found at:
Briana Goff and the two new Institute interns, Brittany Beneke and Emily Betthauser, attended the 1st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, “Diehard” Range and Equipment Display Day at Fort Riley in June. Several community partners attended the event, which included an equipment display and shooting at Range 4. They were trained to shoot both an M4 and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during the event. Dr. Goff and Kali Summers, Institute graduate assistant, attended the Battalion’s Military Ball on July 1, which concluded “Diehard Week,” celebrating the battalion.
Caysi Gatts served as one of the Institute’s Spring 2015 interns. Gatts graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in family studies and human services and a minor in conflict analysis and trauma studies. She also worked as a Project Y.E.S. staff member for 2 years. She plans to study for a master’s degree in social work at Washburn University and hopes to work with families in a military or medical setting.
Aeriel Dodson graduated in May 2015 with a degree in family studies and human services and a minor in music. She will attend the University of Kansas to pursue a master’s degree in social work.