Program sends school supplies to kids in war zones

To help students in war-torn countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Manhattanville College created the “My ABC’s” program, allowing Americans to supply children overseas with the right tools for learning.
A product of the college’s “My Soldiers” program, My ABC’s, was created in response to letters and emails received from service members overseas who carry out humanitarian missions.
The letters spoke of the lack of educational materials for displaced youth in high conflict zones.
“Basic supplies are very difficult for locals to gain access to and are needed to provide proper instruction,” said Michael Seminara, My Soldiers Operations Director.
To offer Americans a chance to provide aid to children and youth, My ABC’s is collecting care packages filled with school supplies and teaching aids to send to war torn areas where soldiers and chaplains will distribute the needed materials to schools and students.
Student supplies, which are needed, include educational workbooks, coloring books, crayons, pencils, pencil sharpeners, and notebooks. Textbooks, chalkboards, chalk, whiteboards, and markers are also needed by teachers for classroom instruction.
The programs not only benefit learning overseas, but teachers here at home are encouraged to use My Soldiers and My ABC’s as supplements in the classroom to learn more about the area’s history, cultural heritage, and geography.
“[You] get a sense of gratification about helping these children have an opportunity for a brighter future,” said Seminara. “Soldiers have even reported that providing learning tools also helps them establish a good relationship with locals.”
Apart from My ABC’s, My Soldier lets U.S. soldiers know that someone cares by establishing pen-pal relationships with them. When a person enrolls in the My Soldier Program, they agree to adopt a soldier.
They receive a “starter kit” with guidelines for writing letters to their deployed US Armed Serviceperson and a red My Soldier bracelet to publicly show their support for American troops.
The program is free, but donations are encouraged. Launched in 2004, over 400,000 participants have signed up to adopt over 175,000 deployed personnel.
Commenting on the importance of My ABC’s, President of Manhattan College Richard Berman said, “Education is the focal point of rebuilding a peaceful sustainable community and is the key to developing individual freedom and economic stability.”
For more information about My ABC’s at Manhattanville College, or to sign up visit www.mysoldier.com or call 914-323-5172.

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