Resiliency is key

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alan Ricker
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam Elementary School, with students representing all branches within the Department of Defense, recently opened a resiliency room and garden for their students on May 31, 2023.

Col. Michele Lo Bianco, 15th Wing commander, and Dr. John Duarte, 15th Wing prevention coordinator, visited with students that had a direct impact on bringing the resiliency facilities to life.

“I am ecstatic that resiliency is now being recognized at a younger age,” said Duarte. “Children are facing more challenges than ever before, and they need the tools to cope with these challenges.”

Students designed the room and garden, and it was built to help students cope with stress. The space includes several books, games and art that addresses moving, deployment, bullying and divorce.

Duarte continued to explain that the addition of the school’s resiliency room and garden should act as inspiration to the 15th Wing to expand their resources to build resilient airmen. One such initiative is the addition of the MindGym, a sensory deprivation, bio-responsive mindfulness environment that has been provided to train airmen’s mental strength and health.

“Being resilient is not just about being tough,” said Lo Bianco. “It’s about learning skills and techniques through practice and persistence. It’s not always easy, but if we can provide our airmen with the tools they need to adapt and thrive, then they’ll be ready for anything.”

Duarte also explained that implementing the school’s resiliency rooms could reduce the stress the student’s parents experience, knowing that their children have the skills to cope with stress and adversity.

“It’s important to recognize, at the end of the day, airmen and their families are still people,” said Lo Bianco. “Practicing resiliency allows them to take on life’s challenges, and still be ready for whatever comes next. Seeing these kids take initiative here just goes to show that support can go a long way in helping our Air Force families.”