Rena Poindexter’s 15-year-old daughter, Ebony, is at the age in which it’s not cool to spend too much time hanging out with parents.
But when Fort Lee’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work event rolled around, she leapt at the chance to spend time with her mom.
“She wanted to spend time with me and spend time at my job,” said Rena of the event held April 24. “That was really nice because normally she doesn’t want to do anything with me.”
The Poindexters were two of about 130 sons, daughters, parents and grandparents who sought common interest in TODSTW, an event sponsored by the Installation Equal Employment Opportunity Office.
It was designed to provide kids the opportunity to take a peek at their parents’ livelihood and learn about a number of other jobs being performed on post.
Anna Thweatt, Installation EEO officer, said the event was a success and well worth the time and effort her staff put into it.
“Today was wonderful,” she said of the 17th annual event. “It’s tiresome but wonderful, and we wouldn’t do it if it didn’t benefit the kids.”
The day began with Col. Gwen Bingham, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee commander, welcoming parents and children, ranging in age from 5 to 17, at the Quartermaster Center and School’s Lewi Auditorium.
Not long after that, the group traveled by bus across post and took up seats in bleachers at the Fort Lee working dog kennels. It was there that a trained military police canine generated many “oohs,” “ahs” and smiles while conquering the obstacle course and displaying discipline in helping officers apprehend suspects in dog-bite suits.
“This is the third or fourth year we’ve done the kennels and the kids love it,” said Thweatt. “They always enjoy it.’
The group also visited the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department’s training hangar and learned about Soldiers who perform airborne operations and the equipment they use. This was the first time in years that the training hangar was a part of the agenda because instructors and staff are normally committed on Thursdays.
“We got in touch with them last year and let them know the children wanted to come and they very graciously decided to keep some people here so that we could come.” said Thweatt.
Michelle Townsend, an installation Civilian employee, attended all the day’s events with daughters, Ashani, 9, and Keyani, 8. This was the first year the three participated in TODSTW.
“It was wonderful and they thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Townsend. “Before today, when they thought about the military, they thought about Soldiers and Soldiers going to Iraq, going to war.
“They didn’t think that we have Soldiers who are veterinarians, Soldiers who train dogs and Soldiers who jump out of planes. It was an eye-opener and now they are aware there are different types (of jobs) out there.”
Children and parents wrapped up the day at Lewi Auditorium with a closing event that featured door prizes for every child in attendance.
That was a welcome end of the day for Dennis Turnage of the Command and General Staff College, Army Logistics Management College, and his son.
“It was a well-laid out program that my child truly enjoyed, and I enjoyed it as a parent.”
TODSTW at Fort Lee is sponsored by the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation.