When A Child’s World preschooler Wyatt Clarke saw his dad step into the airport, Wyatt was overcome with emotion and ran to his dad before he even made it all the way out of the gate. Big sister Aubrey Clarke and mom Rachel Clarke were overcome with emotion, too. Master Sgt. Josh Clarke was returning from his seven month deployment to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan with the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119thSecurity Forces Squadron.
Yesterday, The Forum published this piece about the challenges military families face while supporting deployed loved ones. In the article, the Clarke family discusses the importance of a support network and the difficulties children face while a parent is deployed.
The teachers at A Child’s World, a nationally accredited public early learning center and program of the YWCA Cass Clay, use an integrated curriculum to help the students learn about things that relate to them. In Wyatt’s preschool classroom, that meant learning about how our troops protect us and keep us safe, and why our troops are important. The class made American flags as part of their art projects (Wyatt’s was even used in a special ceremony), sent care packages to deployed members of the 119th and even skyped with Master Sergeant Josh Clarke in Afghanistan. In Aubrey’s school-age classroom, it meant starting a letter writing club to the deployed troops where the children were able to thank them for their service.
The Clarke family felt that the support their family received from the teachers at A Child’s World and staff of the YWCA was crucial for their family during Josh’s deployment. To show their appreciation, the Clarke family presented A Child’s World with an American flag that was proudly flown aboard an AH-64D Apache Helicopter on a combat mission in Afghanistan.
“Thank you so much for all of the extra support you gave to Rachel, Aubrey and Wyatt while I was deployed,” said Josh Clarke. “You’ll never know how much it meant to all of us. It made things easier knowing that they had the extra support and help while I was gone.”