The Foreign Service Journal, November 2015

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.