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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

NOVEMBER 2015

65

FS KNOW-HOW

Get to know the nonprofit groups

and State Department offices that offer

a social safety net for FS youth.

BY JOHN K . NALAND

John K. Naland retired in September after a 29-year

Foreign Service career. He served twice as AFSA’s president

and has published more than 80 articles, including two

previous FS Know-How columns, in these pages. He has

two teenage daughters and is currently the president of the

Foreign Service Youth Foundation.

G

rowing up in a Foreign Service family

presents both benefits and chal-

lenges. Benefits include an expanded

worldview, heightened interpersonal

sensitivity, increased tolerance,

multilingualism and the capacity to

adjust more easily to changing cir-

cumstances. Challenges can include

confused cultural identities, feelings

of rootlessness, difficulties creating a sense of belonging and, at

times, exposure to physical hardship and danger.

Thankfully, Foreign Service youth and their parents do not

have to face these challenges alone. Several nonprofit organiza-

tions and Department of State offices work hard to maintain a

social safety net for our youth.

Sadly, many potential beneficiaries do not take advantage

Raising

FOREIGN

SERVICE

KIDS

of these valuable resources. Fewer than 10 percent of Foreign

Service families belong to any of the nonprofit organizations

highlighted below. I hope this column will prompt more parents

to utilize the support that their colleagues have put such great

effort into making available.

AAFSW–Associates

of the American Foreign

Service Worldwide.

Since

1960, the Associates of the Ameri-

can Foreign Service Worldwide has

advocated for the interests of Foreign

Service family members. AAFSW—

which played a leading role in founding the FSI Transition Cen-

ter, FLO and FYSF—is best known for its multifaceted support for

Foreign Service spouses. However, it also has several programs

that serve our youth.