Impacting lives of Children through literacy!
Guest Blog: Kara Street of Operation Storybook
This project is big, but I know these kids are serving too. We all know that literacy gives us all independence to make choices, to advocate for ourselves and to learn about our community and world…doing so at home also gives the child a way to connect in unimaginable ways. And knowing that their family feels loved and has resources available give our service men and women such comfort while they are away. – Kara Street
I have always been proud to be a military wife.
At times it has been difficult, but it truly brings my husband the most joy to serve his country. I am proud to walk along side him to see that joy. He is a combat engineer with the 348th Engineer Company and left for his third tour in May to Afghanistan. I’ll be honest, this deployment was particularly hard for me. We moved to St. Louis last year. We didn’t have a big network of people, or for that matter, even know very many people at all. My two boys (ages 4 & 2) really had a difficult time understanding why daddy had to leave for a year and this lead to so many more temper tantrums and strong-willed behaviors because their little hearts were hurting.
We found out just before my husband left that we were expecting a little girl and he wouldn’t be here for her birth. Then, when she was born in August, there were complications that landed us in the NICU for a little while. The stresses of this deployment took its toll on me. But, in most situations in life that I can’t control, I always have a desire to work through my own emotions by being proactive.
What can I do to help others in this situation
What can I do to help others in this situation? There are others struggling during this deployment as well. My husband’s unit actually has no Family Readiness Group to offer any support for the families, so my desire was to meet a need for them that they couldn’t meet on their own. Luckily, I have a business that shines a light on literacy in the home and really wanted to use that for the families in my husband’s unit during their deployment. One thing that I saw in my own children is that they were missing their daddy terribly and would do almost anything to just connect with him on a semi-consistent basis. I’m sure they couldn’t be the only kids aching for that connection.
So, I created “Operation Storybook.” Our goal is to provide 150 kids (all of the children with parents serving in Afghanistan with the 348) with a book to their home monthly during the duration of the deployment. In addition, we will also give them a video recording of their parent reading that story to them. This will foster connection and bonding while they are away and give the kids something to watch over and over. Currently, there are over 1.2 million military children of active duty member worldwide. They experience high rates of mental health, trauma, and related issues, sometimes with very few resources to help in the home front. Since the 348 has no family readiness group, these issues have the potential to be higher rates. In total, we plan on giving away at least 1200 books and recordings to these kids through “Operation Storybook”.
Operation Storybook provides storybooks to the military children of the 348th Engineering Company serving in Afghanistan and a recording of their service member reading to them!