Children Join Parents for Fun at Pentagon

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2007 - The Defense Department's America Supports You program welcomed more than 500 children to the Pentagon's center courtyard today for arts and crafts as part of the 15th annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."

America Supports You connects citizens and corporations with members of the military and their families at home and abroad.

"Today's event is just one example of the many America Supports You activities that take place around the country that help us honor and recognize members of our military community, especially their children," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. "We're thankful for the opportunity today to show our appreciation to these great kids whose parents come to work at the Pentagon every day dedicated to supporting our deployed troops and keeping our country safe."

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is a national public education program created by the Ms. Foundation in 1993. It was originally Take Our Daughters To Work Day, and it evolved into Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day in 2003. The Pentagon has taken part in the event for the past three years.

Connect and Join, a family support and education services publishing company and corporate supporter of America Supports You, joined with the Defense Department program to organize the day's activities, which included sand art, paper crafts and T-shirt painting, among others. Participants also had the option of taking a guided tour of the building.

The consensus of those 12 and under was that the day was "fun." Some, like Keana Boyens, 9, did admit that getting out of school for a time was part of the allure of coming to work with her mom, Katasha Hunter.

Hunter, who is former military and works as human resources specialist for the Army Inspector General, said curiosity about her job was truly at the heart of her kids coming with her today. "They always ask me, 'What is it that you do? You work at the Pentagon?'" she said. "So now they get to see what we do."

For her son, Karee Boyens, 10, the crafts were a bonus. "We took pictures and made T-shirts," he said. "That was a fun activity for me."

Gregory Malish, 8, agreed that the activities were a hit.

"I just think it's so fun being here and doing all this, and I'm proud of my mom for working for all of this," he said. "She sets up things to talk to the president and all. So it actually helps our nation."

Malish's mom, Cassandra Hagin, is a telecommunications specialist who works video telecommunications for the secretary of defense.

For some, the crafts were fun, but it was all about getting to hang out with Mom or Dad. In fact, as 4-year-old twins Ashley and Kaylee Waters sat stringing beads with their dad, Army Col. Roger Waters, the deputy division chief for the Iraq Intelligence Cell, the best part of the day as far as Kaylee was concerned was "to go to work with Daddy!"

In addition to all the fun, today also was an opportunity for Connect and Join to say "thank you" to the military community at the Pentagon.

"This is our way of giving back to the employees of the Pentagon and their children for the service that they do for our country and also for the military children," Linda Dennis, Connect and Join's founder, said. "The yard's filled today with kids of all ages, and there's nothing better than a good arts and crafts project to make a child smile."

If the crafts made the children smile, then the parents were surely pleased with the message Brig. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III, chief of Army public affairs, had for the kids as he opened the festivities.

"For all the young men and women who have come, you've got to be proud of your parents," Cucolo said. "It doesn't matter what their job is or what their duty is here in this incredible building, from administration to planning to working on information systems, your parents all have a role to play, and it's an important one."

The fast-paced tempo that moms and dads who work at the Pentagon face can equate to long hours and that can mean children may not always get to see parents as much as they'd like, he said. As a parent of three, Cucolo said, he understands the importance of "Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day" for the children who came to see where Mom and Dad work and what they do all day.

"A day like (today) is so important. It's a moment where there's one-on-one contact," he said. "I consider it quality time because they're together, lots of great, fun events for them to go and participate in, but most importantly, to get to see where Mom and Dad go for all these long hours and get a better understanding of what they're doing."

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is a national public education program created by the Ms. Foundation in 1993. It was originally Take Our Daughters To Work Day, and it evolved into Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day in 2003.

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