March 26, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald
LEXINGTON, KY.

Dealing with emotions during wartime brings unique challenges to parents, teachers and family support professionals.  Cooperative Extension is providing valuable resources for these individuals through the CYFERnet Web site.

CYFERnet is the Children, Youth and Families Education and Research Network that provides a variety of practical, research-based information.  Two University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension professionals, Wendy Stivers and Janet Kurzynski, are co-leaders of the CYFERnet program.  Stivers said the organization’s leaders are always striving to be prepared and forward thinking.

“We try to be as proactive as possible about things,” she said.  “We actually started preparing the wartime resources about three months ago.  This way the information was already gathered and in one place in case we did go to war.”

Stivers said the Web site resources are meant for both military and non-military families. With all the deployments and war action being televised, she said it’s not only military families who become overwhelmed and stressed.

Because Cooperative Extension is the arm of the University in individual communities, Stivers believes Extension agents have a responsibility to help equip clients in their home areas to deal with wartime stress.

“I’m discovering when people go off to war, many times their families don’t stay near the military installation,” she said.  “That means they are going back home to families and communities away from those installations.  As Extension professionals, we have a responsibility to help in our community even when there is not a military installation nearby.”

Resources available on the Web site include information about talking to children about terrorism and war, protecting children from traumatic media exposure, patriotism, related organizations and links and specific resources for military families, classroom resources, and articles about stress and coping.

CYFERnet resources have been sought by major contacts in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Reserves and Guards and also the White House Freedom Corps.

“I’m really glad Kentucky is taking a lead role in this effort,” Stivers said.  “We have two major military installations in Kentucky – Ft. Campbell and Ft. Knox – which have both had a significant number of deployments.  Those family members of military personnel will come home to small towns all over the state and Extension will be there to help them cope.”

The Web site address is http://www.cyfernet.org.  An additional resource for wartime coping information as it relates to Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) ishttp://www.reeusda.gov/4h/cyfar/military.htm.

Contact: 

Wendy Stivers, 859-257-5961; Janet Kurzynske, 859-255-8640