MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Community members are needed at Robert D. Edgren High School once a month to lead a “seminar” class in grades 7 through 12.

School officials are trying to launch an “Adopt a Seminar” program in which volunteers speak to students about character-building topics such as peer pressure and citizenship, said high school guidance counselor Kimberly Dickman.

At Department of Defense Dependent Schools in the Pacific, “we do have a push for character education,” Dickman said.

The program looks to foster communication and discussion about character-based themes; there’s a new topic every month.

“The second benefit to students is to make another adult contact within the community,” Dickman said. “Hopefully, a relationship will form, and it will be someone they can go talk to or maybe see as a role model.”

Volunteers can be individuals, a group of people, or an entire shop or squadron, Dickman said. “We recommend at least two people work together” to share ideas and fill in if the other person cannot attend, she said.

They would adopt 12 to 17 students in the school’s “seminar” class and present a topic each month from February through May. February’s theme is “integrity,” March is “accepting differences,” April “citizenship,” and “peer pressure” in May.

“The people who present can do that any way they like,” Dickman said. Volunteers who need “help with ideas or with activities, can meet with anyone on the committee who can help them develop a program,” she said.

A committee of the school’s three guidance counselors, nurse, psychologist and alcohol and substance abuse counselor is spearheading the program.

There are 23 seminar classes at the high school, and 10 in the middle school, Dickman said. So far, five groups have volunteered for the program.

“We’re looking for more people,” she said.

For more information or to volunteer, call Dickman at DSN 226-3911 or e-mail her at:

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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