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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2016

JBLE parents prepare for new school year

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As summer draws to a close, Joint Base Langley-Eustis families may face stressors when preparing for the upcoming school year. Through organization, proper planning, communication and engagement, families can look forward to the adjustments and minimize the stressful situations that can occur with routine changes.

 Some of these routine changes include going to a new school, change of bed time, as well as changing daily activities.

 Many military children deal with the struggle of adapting to a new school and making new friends as they move around from one installation to another. According to the American Psychological Association, parents are encouraged to get to know their neighbors and their neighbors’ children.  By walking around the block and introducing themselves to neighbors parents can help their children meet new friends and they can meet other parents who may deal with the same stressors and have different ways to manage them.

 Parents are also encouraged to talk with their children and empathize with them to let them know they understand how their children are feeling and that they are there for support. The APA suggests letting children know their parents understand what they are going through and encourage them to face their fears of meeting new people in a new environment.

 Before and after school programs, youth sports, teen programs, arts and many clubs are available from the 633rd Force Support Squadron youth programs for all Department of Defense affiliated children at JBLE.

 These programs assist U.S. service members who work late or are looking to keep their children engaged in activities after school.

 “Everything a child can think of, we have it or something similar to it,” said Debbie McPherson, 633rd FSS youth programs teen facility manager at Fort Eustis. “We want to keep children active, help them meet friends and engage their minds while helping parents out at the same time.”

 While youth programs do not have classes for parents who are dealing with these particular stressors, they do offer personal suggestions to any parents who deal with these adjustments.

 “If asked, I usually tell parents I start making my kids go to bed earlier and reading every day as they get closer to the start of the school year,” said Ninoshka Basantes, Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills director. “When parents ask us where they should go shopping for school supplies, we refer them to the schools to ensure they have the necessary list of what is needed.”

 For parents who may be struggling with the cost of back-to-school supplies, the Virginia Department of Taxation will offer a three-day tax holiday Friday, August 5 through Sunday, August 7. Tax exempt items include most school supplies under $20, clothing and footwear under $100 per item, some hurricane and emergency preparedness items as well as qualified Energy Star and WaterSense items.

 For more information on Youth Programs, visit For a detailed list of tax exempt items for the tax-free weekend, visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website at