When Cheshire’s Jeffrey Falk initially left the military, he thought he was done with his duty.
“I thought I had stopped serving, never realizing it is a way of life,” he recalls.
Falk, a local police officer and a Town Councilor who has actively participated in veterans organizations within the community for years, realized that what he learned in the military can be used every day in his civilian life.
He also always wondered how he could share those core values with Cheshire’s youth… until now.
Falk is spearheading an initiative to bring the Medal of Honor Character Development Program to Cheshire’s public school curriculum.
“My goal is to have Cheshire host the first Connecticut-based training for the Character Development program and to have it implemented into some part of our educational system,” said Falk. “I want our youth to learn and understand that they can always do more, be more, and not only learn about selfless service but have it become a part of their life.”
Connecticut is currently one of only six states in the nation that does not have a Medal of Honor program as a part of the public school curriculum, and Falk plans to change that.
“The program focuses on six major core values,” explained Falk. “Courage, citizenship, integrity, patriotism, sacrifice, and commitment, and helps instill those values into our children.”
The curriculum is designed for different age groups from kindergarten through grade 12, and each lesson focuses on a different core value and how it can be applied to a child’s life. The program provides an opportunity for students to hear the personal stories of Medal of Honor recipients and the core values shared by each, so as to make the material more relatable.
“This program can be taught in every single aspect of learning,” mentions Falk. “The teachers just have to take the time to do it.”
Falk, who is an advocate for veterans within the community, hopes that the lessons taught through the Medal of Honor Character Development Program will give students a greater appreciation for those who’ve served in the military, as well as create a more socially-responsible generation of children.
“I started the program with the Explorer’s group at the police department,” said Falk. “They took to the lessons very quickly. I’ve even done most of them (the lessons) with my own children.”
Since its inception in 2007, the program has encouraged students around the country to interact with local veterans. It also promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and personal reflection among participants.
Because of the program’s versatility, aspects of it can be taught during afterschool activities, athletic events, and anti-bullying seminars.
While Falk is unsure as to whether Cheshire will ultimately become the first town in the state to adopt the program, the feedback he has received from the community has energized him.
“I’ve recieved nothing but support from everyone who I have mentioned this too,” acknowledged Falk. “Now, it’s just a matter of getting it into the schools.”
If you would like to know more about the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, visit https://themedalofhonor.com/character-development/about-the-cdp.