The MCEC launched Tell Me A Story (TMAS) on September 11, 2005. The mission of the program is to empower Military Children by using literature and their own stories in a way that fosters skills for resilience, strong peer and parent connections, a sense of pride and accomplishment, and a caring community. Tell Me A Story is a FAMILY literacy event geared toward children ages 4-12. TMAS provides opportunities to open up discussion on difficult topics such as deployment, separation and moving. We want children to have the skills they need to be resilient. Through TMAS, Children (and parents) are able to recognize that they are an active part of a caring community-not just recipients of this care, but also participants in caring for others. TMAS can help give children the tools needed to be resilient and have a positive optimistic outlook. Optimistic children do better with transitions, are happier, and adjust easier, (optimistic people even live longer). We also have a mission to train the parents and encourage them to help their children be strong readers (children who read well do better in school-it is “the critical skill”). That is one of the primary reasons why TMAS is NOT a drop-off program. Parents are required to stay through the event and sit with their child(ren) and will come away from the event better able to provide deeper learning opportunities through children’s literature.
Each TMAS event focuses on one book, carefully selected by the MCEC for its content, literary value, and illustrations. TMAS books also exhibit 23 character traits of positive, optimistic people; research shows that these traits can be developed and contribute to people becoming more resilient as well as living healthier, happier, and longer lives. All TMAS books touch on two main themes of Positive Psychology: resilience and optimism, while some of the books directly address certain issues, such as deployment. The chosen books are developmentally appropriate to the target age of the audience (4-12 years) and they are respectful of the diversity of families and experiences. The TMAS event begins with the reading of the selected book. Following the reading, participants move into guided discussion groups. This facilitated discussion time is key. It is the reason we do TMAS. This is the time for the parents to see how they can use the stories for discussion. This peer to peer interaction is not only for the children. The adults also have time to interact with their peers. In some cases, this may be an opportunity for a parent to meet other parents who are going through some of the same things they are going through (deployment, separation.) The program features activities for the children to participate in as well as MCEC® publications to supplement the program. Each family receives a copy of the book as well as the supplemental materials.
When you purchase a Tell Me a Story Program, MCEC® provides the specified number of books requested (at a discounted rate over the current retail price), the marketing materials (a full-color flyer with all the event details for you to print or e-mail to your community), programs (full-color for you to print and distribute the day of the event), a “How to TMAS" CD which includes: the book formatted for display via large-screen projector, a complete list of all supplemental activities and instructions on how to execute them, a copy of the TMAS Field Manual which gives step-by-step instructions on getting your event ready from first action item to after action review, and any supplemental materials that our teams have developed to support your particular TMAS. Additionally, we are available to provide you with answers to any questions you may have once you start the process.
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