Twentynine Palms -- Staff Sgt. Abayomi Adeniyi held hands with his 4-year-old daughter, Grace, and 2-year-old son, Samuel, as the trio made their way around the bustling MCCS Community Center auditorium here on the evening of May 9, 2018. Like other parents attending the Combat Center School Liaison’s annual Kindergarten Parent Transition Workshop, Adeniyi was there to gather information that he and his wife will use to make decisions about Grace’s education as she prepares to start kindergarten in the fall.
“It’s very helpful with all of the resources,” Adeniyi, an instructor with Charlie Company, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, said. “Everybody answered our questions.”
Thirty-eight parents with 32 kids in tow attended the workshop, sponsored by American Friends of our Armed Forces. They moved from table to table to chat with representatives from the School Liaison program, Morongo Unified School District and other on and off-base organizations serving Combat Center families with school-aged children. Representatives of Armed Services YMCA, Child and Youth Programs, Combat Center Library, Combat Center Readiness Office, Exceptional Family Member Program, Focus, Military and Family Life Counselors, Pacific Clinics, Twentynine Palms Head Start and Valiant Preparatory Charter School answered questions and handed out information packets.
Families also lined up to meet Thelma and Louise, the Combat Center’s ambassador tortoises, while McGruff the Crime Dog and Daren the DARE Lion from the Combat Center Provost Marshal’s Office walked through the venue, exchanging high-fives and hugs with young admirers. A table with crayons, pens and coloring books was popular with the kids, as was one with refreshments.
Kylie Shaw and her husband, Staff Sgt. Alan Shaw of 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, attended with kindergartner-to-be Ainsley, 4, and her 2-year-old sister, Nora.
“We were looking for requirements to apply for kindergarten and when to apply,” she said. “It was more than I expected. We got all the answers we needed and more. I’m very pleased.”
Dr. Deborah Turner, Morongo Unified School District assistant superintendent of instructional services, brought a group that included Karalee Hargove, MUSD board president; Megan Pfau, Twentynine Palms Elementary School principal; Mary Lou Mohn, transitional kindergarten and early childhood teacher; and Chrystal Whitney of nutritional services.
“We were excited to be a part of this event with all of our community resources coming together and helping families,” Turner said. “It’s just an awesome event.”
Combat Center officials also were pleased.
“It was very rewarding talking to the parents this evening, seeing how excited they were to get information,” said Jim Ricker, director, Government and External Affairs, which oversees the Combat Center School Liaison program. “We’re thankful to the community, both on and off base, for setting up and providing information to the families. I’d especially like to thank staff members Kimberly Pope and Hayley Albright for organizing the event. It truly was a labor of love and caring for the families.”
For more information on the Combat Center School Liaison program, call (760) 830-1574, email SMBPLMSSCHOOLLIAISON@usmc.mil or go online to www.29palms.marines.mil/schoolliaison.
For more information on MUSD, its schools and programs, visit www.k12.ca.gov