Forging the future through children

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Nordheim
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 325th Fighter Wing recently invited children, teachers, and board members with the Bay County Elevate Bay program to tour Team Tyndall’s “Installation of the Future”.

The Elevate Bay program aims to support and encourage at-risk children in Bay County by connecting them with role models from the local community, in this case, Airmen from across Team Tyndall.

“Elevate Bay is important for our students because we have many who face instability in a variety of arenas,” said Stacy Legg, Bay District School mentor initiative specialist. “These obstacles follow our students into the classroom and provide challenges with learning both academically and socially. Providing positive support and encouragement helps our students find hope and a path to success in their future.”

During this tour, students and faculty from Callaway Elementary School were able to observe Tyndall Air Force Base’s military working dogs, explosive ordinance disposal team, the fire protection station, and a QF-16. Throughout these stops, Airmen answered questions, gave advice and demonstrated key features of their respected careers.

“For a lot of the kids, Elevate Bay broadens their horizons and gives them someone in the classroom who they can look up to,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph Hark, 325 Fighter Wing Public Affairs public affairs officer. “For the community to have military mentors in the classrooms means a lot. A lot of these kids have needs that might not be met at home. So, to have that outside influence is a really great thing for these students.”

The Elevate Bay program offers three options for mentoring: one-on-one, classroom and lunch buddy. The program serves all Bay District public and non-charter schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.

“So many of our students only experience their immediate surroundings and are unable to see how their experiences in the classroom can translate into real world life and work experience,” said Legg. “Several of our students today said, ‘I want to do this when I grow up!’. It is so important for them to see options and opportunities to be contributing citizens in their community and potentially for their country.”

To learn more about the Elevate Bay program, and how to volunteer, use the following link.