Military Officers Association, Veterans Memorial Center Collaborate on ‘Veterans Back to Class’ Program
By Space Coast Daily // February 3, 2020
VBC program impacts over 4,800 total students
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association and the Veterans Memorial Center of Brevard County created a special “Veterans Back to Class” program in 2015.
For many years schools throughout the county, and country for that matter had individual veterans who came to classes around Veterans Day, and at other times, to share their military experience, values, etc.
In Brevard County, MOAACC and the VMC decided to develop an informal organization to increase the impact of such an effort on the Space Coast.
The Brevard County School Board and many private schools bought into the program in the following years. Five years later it has proven its value in dozens of schools on the Space Coast, including public, private and even some homeschooling groups.
The VBC program offers links for teachers to describe their needs for the presentations and to set aside at least 5-10 minutes of the class period for each volunteer veteran to tell their story of service, and how being a veteran has impacted his/her life.
Topics have included the meaning of Veterans and Memorial Days, history, civics, literature, and concepts like leadership, teamwork, service before self, character, discipline and many more.
Each year VBC averages over 25 schools that participate, and about 4,800 total students who are impacted. In 2019 the program received support to produce a VBC booklet and an APP that is available to all Brevard Public School teachers as they plan lessons throughout the year.
VBC is hopeful this will lead to increased requests in the years ahead. As of January 2020, VBC has 16 volunteers representing all the military branches, and whose experiences in the military extend over almost three generations from the Vietnam era to Afghanistan.
In 2015, VBC also formed a partnership with the nationally known Joe Foss Institute. This is a nonprofit organization in the US that aims to promote an appreciation among students for the American tradition of liberty, the country’s military history, and patriotic values.
The Institute lists its five values as freedom, patriotism, integrity, service, and character – and targets its programs at military veterans, students, and teachers.
JFI covers the costs of supporting materials such as DVDs, handheld flags and pocket Constitutions, and offers lesson plans as needed.
They also certify all volunteers. All VBC volunteers are approved by the Brevard Public Schools because of this JFI check.
The Institute was founded in 2001 by Medal of Honor recipient General Joseph J. Foss and his wife Donna Foss. Throughout his high profile career, General Foss always made time to visit classrooms and speak with the students, America’s future leaders.
His goal was to ensure that children understand America’s freedoms and the importance of public service, integrity and patriotism.
Since its founding, the JFI has served nearly 1.5 million students through in-classroom presentations, educational materials and scholarships.
In 2018 the VBC/JFI Program in Brevard County was named among the most active, largest and impactful in the country, by the Institute.
For more information about the VBC program, contact Donn Weaver at the Veterans Memorial Center on Merritt Island at 321-453-1776.
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