CRESTVIEW — Free counseling services are now available to military families with children attending several Okaloosa County schools.
Students attending Crestview High School, Shoal River Middle School and Antioch and Bob Sikes elementary schools can receive help from the Child and Youth Behavioral Military and Family Life Counseling program. The service also is available at Eglin Air Force Base's Family Readiness Center.
Whether a parent is away on duty, or a child has difficulty adjusting to new settings, 18 full-time, certified counselors are available for support, said Larry Lumpkin, a school liaison officer at Eglin AFB.
"There was quite a need for this program, (particularly) in the Crestview area," he said, referring to military growth from the 7th Special Forces (Airborne) Group, in addition to military families from Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field and Duke Field. "The (military) children in this area are good candidates for this program."
Crestview High School Principal Bob Jones has already noticed how the school's two counselors have integrated with students.
"They are usually in hallways and lunchrooms talking with students," he said. "They also attend several of our football games ... they have already made themselves a part of our community."
CHS guidance counselor Karen Jeanette said the Military and Family Life counselors are a welcome addition.
"They’ve been a great asset for student referrals, as some students speak with the MFLC (counselors) first and then are referred to their current school counselors for further assistance," she said in an email.
"In addition, the MFLCs typically have more time to work individually with students on concerns that arise outside of school, allowing us to help focus on academics and personal/social concerns inside school."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.