Onslow Co. program helps military students transition to new schools

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)– On average, military students transition between schools seven to nine times over the course of their education. A new program in Onslow County is working to make the transitions a little easier.

The Anchored4Life program teaches students resiliency while also training them to be leaders.

About 40 percent of Onslow County Schools’ population is made up of military students. The Anchored4Life club is the latest initiative to make their transitions in and out of the system easier.

“The transitions, those first two weeks, are very fragile for new kids,” Brittany Norman, military transition counselor for OCS, said. “It’s very important that we make sure those social and emotional needs are met.”

Anchored4Life is a student-led peer to peer club.

The students were chosen by their teachers and received special training on Wednesday including how to give tours, serve as mentors and make students feel welcome.

“We train team leaders to teach activity groups, teach life skills to the students and their school,” La Donna Lewis, Anchored4Life trainer, said. “That way, as they learn to be resilient as young students they can grow up and be more resilient adults.”

The program also serves non-military students like those undergoing a parental divorce or even bullying.

“We have crew members who are probably going to stay with them for their first days and who are going to be their lunch buddy,” Callee Mahar, a team leader in the fourth grade, said.

Students use four different kits to help, as well as movies and books.

The Anchored4Life program is funded by the Navy. Jacksonville Commons Elementary is the first Marine Corps school in the program.

The team leaders are led by advisors who are teachers at the school. They received their training on Tuesday.

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