How a Guardian of Children Impacted by Military Deployment Began a Movement
In 2008 Debbie Nichols experienced firsthand the challenges a family faces being connected by the military. Nichols and her husband became the guardians of their daughter’s two school age children while their daughter deployed to Afghanistan. Nichols experienced the frustration of the lack of knowledge, awareness and understanding in schools in her community that were not near a military base. At the time, there were no programs to support military families enduring deployments of their loved ones. Those becoming guardians to military children had no preparation or support. In 2010 Nichols began her journey as an advocate to support and raise awareness for military families facing separations, emotional homecomings and reintegration by writing two books, developing a blog site, and speaking at military Yellow Ribbon events.
Military Childrens Collaborative Group is Formed
In 2011, Nichols was invited to the White House Faith Based Community Leaders briefing to discuss her concerns for military children and their families with the White House Representatives and the U.S. Department of Education. Nichols shared the personal experiences and detailed the tremendous stress and anxiety military connected children face in schools. She observed that school administration and educators were untrained regarding the needs of the children, resulting in potential problems such as their behavior, which negatively impacts the child’s academic performance. She enquired as to why there were no methods or systems to self-identify students connected to the military?
As a result, Nichols formed Military Childrens Collaborative Group (MCCG), with the mission is to advocate, educate, outreach and support all military connected children, be it Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, Veterans and Fallen and provide essential services to improve the quality of life of military connected children and their families.
MCCG builds a comprehensive support network that fosters, encourages and acknowledges the children who silently serve, by raising awareness, providing education, referring resources to and for military connected children’s unique needs.