As a military spouse, wouldn’t it be amazing if the job you wanted had this requirement:
“Must have personal experience in multiple military PCS moves.”
I’m here to tell you there is such a job! The line above is in every job description announcement to be a Parent-to-Parent Educator for the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC). Bonus! The job has great hours and pay, and supports military connected kids and their parents.
For me, it’s like winning the lottery.
MCEC has developed military spouse teams across the United States to empower parents to be their child’s strongest advocate on education and social issues. Parent-to-Parent teams host workshops for parents with children of all ages – babies to budding college students. MCEC counts more than 210,000 parents attending these workshops since the program’s beginning in 2006 and the number continues to grow.
Many Parent-to-Parent Educators are professionals and military spouses who have backgrounds in education, public speaking or child advocacy – like me.
The program is diverse and inclusive. It caters to all branches of service and civilian parents plus many children living around military installations. There are literally hundreds of parenting workshops available to public and private schools, YMCAs, scout programs, parent groups, libraries and military bases. And it’s free to participants and hosting groups. No catch.
The Parent-to-Parent Program wants to empower parents to understand their child and advocate for them. The College Admission Workshops are a hit for military-connected high school students because it helps students manage their transient school life and tell their story in a college essay. An Early Literacy Program helps parent connect to their young children through reading, then expands literacy into math and science with hands on activities. Basically, learning through play.
Linda Powers, the lead for the Parent-to-Parent team in Tampa, Florida and experienced elementary school teacher, finds meaning in her job by continuing to teach kids.
“I really enjoy connecting with parents and helping them learn new ways to support and enhance their children’s development.”
Linda is an Army Spouse and an elementary school teacher for more than twelve years in eight different locations despite her ten PCS moves. With more than 20 years of being an Army spouse and two high school children, Linda feels she gets the best of both worlds while working at MCEC – paid employment and empowering parents to be better advocates for their children.
Jennifer Southerland is also a Parent-to-Parent Educator and Linda’s partner at MCEC for last year. She is a 24-year Army spouse with a Masters in family counseling. With eleven PCS moves and two school-aged children, finding gainful employment has been challenging. Working for MCEC has given her the professional development she craves while still able to manage her military life style.
“I like the idea of taking my education and combining it with sharing what I have learned as mom and a military spouse over the years with other parents just like me.”
Together, their team schedules workshops at MacDill AFB and the surrounding area ten months out of the year. They specialize in a variety of workshops such as Early Literacy Programs, Time Management for Kids, Homework Help, College Admissions and School Transitions. But they are trained to speak and educate on any of the dozens of workshops available; it’s up to the requesting group. If you need it, MCEC probably has a workshop for it.
There are eleven Parent-to-Parent Teams around the county and they are hoping to expand. Most teams are paid for by grants from corporations or state agencies. All educators are trained for the job and are offered continued professional development throughout the year. There is ability for advancement plus annual pay raises, too.
MCEC is an employer that understands military spouse employment challenges while empowering our community. Click here to learn more about the jobs MCEC has available. I’m happy to say that I am the recently hired third member of the Parent-to-Parent Team in Tampa.
MCEC has been serving parents and military connected kids for 20 years. They offer many different programs to military communities and a plethora of research to back up their support. To find out more about the Parent to Parent Program and how to get one started in your area, check out their website here.