Sierra Sands students hear from ‘Anchored4Life’ founder

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Sierra Sands students hear from ‘Anchored4Life’ founderAuthor-illustrator-motivational speaker Trevor Romain came to Ridgecrest last week to present a program for local students involved in the “Anchored4Life Club” — an organization that helps develop leadership skills, enhance life skills, build confidence and offers support to eligible youth.

Romain is a popular author of children’s books that deal with complicated social issues and offer students strategies for coping with them.

According to Sarah Dastrup, who serves as the liaison between the Naval Air Weapons Station and local schools, the Navy approached Romaine several years ago in hopes that he could help develop a program for kids who need help dealing with transitions and building resiliency.

Although the original program focused on serving military families (which statistically move every few years and attend an average of five to nine schools), it now extends to any student coping with an absent parent — whether that’s related to service overseas or a separation through family circumstance or incarceration.

“One of the discoveries through this program is that the support we offer to military children is also good for other children,” said Dastrup.

The club provides members with an environment that pairs students with a peer support system, as well as a tool development program that can be incorporated into the classroom.

Romain reached out to Dastrup in September to determine whether the local area would be interested in a visit. “I said ‘Of course we are!’”

She reached out to local schools six of which expressed interest in participating. Club members and their advisors were bussed to Las Flores Elementary School for a presentation and opportunities to interact with Romain.

“I knew it would be very exciting to these student because they would recognize him from his appearance in the curriculum videos,” said Dastrup.

“In person he really has a great approach. He uses comedy, but also talks about difficult situations and lets the kids talk about their own struggles.”

“Anchored4Life not only supports students who are experiencing crisis or challenges associated with transition, but also allows fellow students to be a part of the solution,” said Sarah Tate, principal of Las Flores.

“When a new student enrolls in our school, student representatives will walk the new student around and introduce his or her peers to establish a welcoming culture.

“It was an honor that Trevor chose Las Flores to highlight his program for supporting students. He expressed excitement for being on campus and thanked us for the enormous support and enthusiasm he experienced.

“Anchored4Life is one of those amazing programs that many people don’t know about, but is alive and well in our district.”

Pictured: Trevor Romain (in “HOPE” T-shirt) is escorted by students, parents and staff on a tour of Las Flores Elementary School. — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-10-04