Local News

Cumberland Co., Ft. Bragg Join Forces for Kids

Posted October 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Children growing up these days can easily end up on the wrong path. That's why Cumberland County schools and Fort Bragg are teaming up to steer students in the right direction.

In the past, Fort Bragg has hosted camps for kids who are at-risk, but this program is a little different. It will take in one group of kids every semester and work with that group only. The children are in middle school and the idea is to catch and help them early.

About 100 students from Cumberland County schools trade in their books for some tough training, army style. These at-risk seventh graders spend the day getting physical at Fort Bragg. It's hard work, it's fun, and it's a learning experience.

The 65-foot rapelling tower proves to be the biggest test. As the children scale downward, their self-confidence climbs. Student Jeffery Blevins says he found out he could do more than he thought.

By overcoming such obstacles the students are building skills that will help them tackle life's obstacles.

Student Jennifer McDaniel says she had good experiences.

Student Jermarl Epps feels more like a man for having his day on the obstacle course.

About 50 COSCOM soldiers mixed commands with words of encouragement, trying to help these kids be all they can be. First Lt. Cindy Kanis says these kids need positive role models. The Army fosters a sense of teamwork and competition.

Each month a group will spend one day at Fort Bragg. Next semester, the Cumberland County middle schools will pick out another group of kids and send them off to training.

Photographer:Gil Hollingsworth andKerrie Hudzinski