USC University of Southern California

Building Capacity and Welcoming Practices In Military-Connected Schools

Family Readiness Express

The Family Readiness Express (FRE) is a one- of-a-kind RV, operated by the U.S. Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Division. The FRE brings resources and support to military families. While the vehicle is usually parked at military housing developments, we thought scheduling stops at the schools in our consortium would provide another way for families to access the services and to raise awareness among teachers and other school staff about the needs of military children. We were able to book several days for the crew of the FRE to visit schools and the schools re-arranged their schedules to allow entire classrooms to tour the massive vehicle.

In the first visit at one of the consortium schools in Oceanside, roughly 400 students, parents, teachers and other school staff members visited the FRE over a two-day period. They received materials on Internet safety, dealing with a parent’s deployment and other resources specifically designed for military children. Military students were able to tell some of their own stories to the FRE staff, and non-military students learned how to support their friends who have parents in the service. We expect ongoing success with these visits at other schools. We also intend to evaluate these FRE visits as an intervention in the schools.