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August 13, 2014
Family Advocacy Program; Army Community Service; Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- A five-pound glob of yellow fat sat on a table at the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) Back to School Open House at the Army Community Service (ACS) building, here, July 22.

Kids immediately ran up to the table and began squishing the simulated fat, while parents silently imagined the fat in various places inside their own bodies.

A water- and bead-filled lava tube was perched on the table next to the fat globs, simulating clogged and healthy arteries.

If these two models didn't scare the life out of most adults, the next one -- the test tubes filled with the fat and sugar content, which is found inside many popular foods -- was enough to change many eating habits.

"The kids are amazed by the amount of sugar in red fruit drink (an entire test tube full), and also the amount of fat in trail mix (22 grams for ? cup). And of course, we have the globs of fat that kids love," said Maj. Tara Vaughn, a registered nurse at Schofield Army Public Health Nursing.

The intent of the open house, which attracted 109 people, was to inform and connect people to various services offered through FAP and ACS, as well as additional resources in the community, according to Donieka Wood, event coordinator and FAP social services educator.

The open house featured many ACS programs, including New Parent Support, Exceptional Family Members, Military and Family Life Consultants and Victim Advocacy.

Other organizations represented at the event were Child Youth and School Services (CYSS), Military Police and bike patrols, Military OneSource, School Liaison and Schofield's Army Public Health Nursing.

Possibly the biggest highlight for the children was an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog, who hugged and high-fived more than 50 kids, including two groups from the Army School Age Services (SAS) program. Kids also enjoyed collecting colorful stickers as they traveled from table to table learning about various organizations, coloring, making straw necklaces and playing Bingo.

To complement the open house's back to school theme, all attendees left the open house with a free insulated lunch cooler and a plastic bag stuffed with prizes.

"I observed community members gathering together, socializing and networking in regards to preparing their children to go back to school. I also observed the children having a great time learning safety tips from McGruff the Crime Dog and the MPs," said Wood. "It was nice to see the representatives from each participating program give resources and great information to the community members and interact with the children."

The next Family Advocacy Open House, featuring a Halloween and safety theme, will be Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(Note: Chapman is a FAP social services educator at ACS.)

-- Upcoming FAP Programs

The FAP-ED program offers a variety of classes and events for parents and children at various Army installations across Oahu.

- Home Alone: Is your 10, 11 or 12-year-old ready to stay at home alone? Sign them up for this interactive workshop that provides tools for making responsible decisions while they are home alone. Topics include first aid, fire safety and Internet safety. A parent must be present during this class.

- Expectant Parent Series: This four-week course for pregnant moms covers newborn care, financial planning and couples communication.

- Toon Time Movie: A free movie for caregivers and their children, ages 0-3 (older siblings are welcomed, too).

- Play Mornings: This activity is a wonderful opportunity to meet other moms and dads, share information and parenting tips, and give your infant/toddler a chance to interact with other children in a safe, structured and nurturing environment.

- Prosperous Parent: Discuss essential parenting skills and challenges. Explore realistic and unrealistic expectations for children, understand your child's development and create a plan for your child's safety.

- Love and Logic: This four-part series teaches parents how to hold their kids accountable in a special way. It helps the child to see the parent as the "good guy" and poor decisions as the "bad guy."

- Car Seat Classes: Take an individual, one-hour session designed to offer parents and caregivers confidence while installing their car seats.

- Tips for Single Parents: Join us and review and rehearse effective practices for raising kids in a one-parent household.

- Scream-Free Parenting: This class is not just about lowering your voice. It's about learning to calm your emotional reactions and focus on your own behavior more than your kids' behavior.