K-State and Fort Riley will strengthen their commitments to assisting soldiers and their families by creating a Cooperative Extension program tailored to the needs of military personnel.
A memorandum of understanding allows Extension family and consumer science programs, affiliated with the College of Human Ecology, to give military families information on diverse family-related issues, said Paula Peters, assistant director of K-State Research and Extension.
Topics could include parenting, family communication, child and youth development, nutrition and food preparation, physical activity and health, and money management.
"We also will be contracting with the Department of Defense and Fort Riley to deliver education based on their specific needs," Peters said.
In a related effort, the College of Human Ecology is working to increase the clinical services it provides to Fort Riley families through the Speech and Hearing Center and the Family Center, said Briana Nelson Goff, associate dean for academic affairs at the college.
Both centers provide training to graduate students and services to members of the community, including military families, Nelson Goff said, but the college would like to expand and formalize the relationship with Fort Riley.
"This new partnership arises in response to the great need that the expanding military community has to care for its families and to support its wounded warriors," said Arthur DeGroat, director of military affairs at K-State. "I see this as an act of leadership by K-State to 'move to the sound of the guns,' to support our families at Fort Riley during this trying time."
The Extension proposal is modeled on the Texas Cooperative Extension program that Texas A&M University sponsors at several military installations, including Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Nelson Goff said.
"The 20-plus years of Texas A&M's Extension effort is a testament to the power of such a joint venture," DeGroat said.
"K-State Research and Extension is very excited about this," Peters said. "We look forward to this partnership and hope that we will be able to help military families for years to come."
Photo: The Old Bill monument at Fort Riley commemorates the horse-mounted troops of the era when the post was established. The monument stands on Cavalry Parade Field on Main Post, where K-State is increasing its Extension efforts. (Photo courtesy of Fort Riley Public Affairs Office)