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Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger at the job shadow event.
Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, Air Force Materiel Command vice commander, answers a question asked by a Meadowdale PreK-8 School student during a visit to AFMC headquarters March 24. About 40 students participated in a job shadowing event organized by a Wright-Patterson AFB group called Airmen Acting. The group's mentoring program pairs volunteers from the base with students in an effort to provide guidance and help the students make responsible choices. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chandra Lloyd)
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Command headquarters takes part in mentoring at-risk kids

Posted 3/29/2010   Updated 3/29/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Kim Dawley
Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs


3/29/2010 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Students at Dayton's Meadowdale PreK-8 School might never have dreamed of experiencing the Air Force or meeting a general officer. However, many students did just that thanks to a base group's March 24 job shadow event.

Airmen Acting, an organization established in January of this year by Senior Master Sgt. Dellaina Grundy, command supply systems analyst in Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command's Directorate of Logistics, partners volunteers from the base with Meadowdale students.

According to Sergeant Grundy, Airmen Acting's focus on mentoring and tutoring means the group has a daily presence in the school.

"Our tutors provide assistance with academics, primarily in math and reading. Our mentors are assigned between two and four students, whom they meet with at least twice monthly to discuss issues the students are having and provide guidance on making responsible choices," she said.

Sergeant Grundy said the goal is to provide positive role models.

"We establish telephone and mail contact with the students to monitor scholastic achievements and deficiencies, share success stories, and provide words of encouragement," she said. "We listen in times of need, and we also broaden cultural, career, and educational experiences."

Some of the upcoming mentorship events are a luncheon, a spa party, laser tag, and an awards assembly.

Because of the Airmen Acting volunteers' presence in the school, the students already knew a little about Air Force jobs. The job shadow event gave 40 students from fourth through eighth grade an opportunity to visit the base and see first-hand the kind of work experience it provides. The first stop, though, was a scavenger hunt at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Following the scavenger hunt, Airmen Acting volunteers escorted the students to AFMC Headquarters, where Directorate of Logistics leadership was waiting to greet them. The students also had lunch and saw a deployment presentation. After lunch, Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, AFMC vice commander, stopped by to visit with the students as well.

General Wolfenbarger shared her Air Force story, then emphasized the importance of the students' motto with Airmen Acting - "If it is to be, it is up to me" - and what exactly that means.

"You are in charge of your lives," the general said. "You get to decide what you do, and if you keep a positive attitude you can do so much more."

In the course of answering the students' questions, General Wolfenbarger encouraged them never to stop pushing or challenging themselves.

"When you go through tough situations, you realize you're capable of more than you ever imagined. You'll be surprised at what you can really do if you put your mind to it," she said.

With that, the students came to attention, saluted the general, and headed back to school.

"This kind of experience is what Airmen Acting is all about," Sergeant Grundy said. "I learned that approximately 90 percent of the students at Meadowdale are considered at risk for adverse living conditions. Many of the students live in single-parent homes, are being raised by relatives, or live in foster care. I established Airmen Acting because I felt we might be the only positive adult influence many of these students have in their lives."

The mission of the mentoring program, according to Sergeant Grundy, is to provide encouragement and to promote the importance of teamwork and getting a good education.

"We work on promoting togetherness and adapting the 'Wingman' concept and core values as they relate to everyday life," she said. "Our goal is to instill our motto into the students during each visit, with the hope that they will start to believe they can achieve."

For now, Meadowdale is the only school involved with Airmen Acting. However, with the overwhelming response from volunteers, Sergeant Grundy hopes to expand to additional Dayton public schools next year. Airmen Acting currently has 35 active volunteers, whose levels of experience range from Airmen just out of technical school to personnel who have doctorates.

For more information, contact Sergeant Grundy at (937) 656-0633 or at dellaina.grundy@wpafb.af.mil, or Shevelle Madison at (937) 904-0094 or at shevelle.madison@wpafb.af.mil.



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