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Military Children Month: Need to Know Programs

Community Support
Community Support
April 1, 2024
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Military Children Month, celebrated each April, casts a much-deserved light on the lives of military children, acknowledging their resilience in the face of unique challenges brought about by their parents' military service. This observance not only highlights the difficulties these children endure but also emphasizes the various programs and initiatives designed to lend them support. A broad range of resources are available to help military children navigate the complexities of military life, but as with all programs, you have to know they exist.

One of the cornerstone programs dedicated to supporting military children is the Military Child Education Coalition. MCEC focuses on ensuring that military children receive quality educational opportunities and are supported through their unique educational and emotional challenges. The organization offers a suite of programs, including the Student 2 Student initiative, which pairs up new students to a school with more established ones who can show them the ropes.

Another excellent resource is Operation Purple Camp, run by the National Military Family Association (NMFA). This free summer camp is designed specifically for military children, providing them a space to enjoy typical camp activities while bonding with peers who share similar experiences of parental deployment and the military lifestyle. There are different dates for different camps, and space fills up quickly, so get your slot while they are available.

United Through Reading addresses the emotional challenges military children face during a parent’s deployment. It allows deployed parents to record themselves reading books to their children, helping maintain an emotional connection and support literacy. This simple yet powerful gesture helps mitigate the sense of separation and supports familial bonds, despite physical distance. When the program started it was just a few well-meaning Chaplains with camcorders but has expanded considerably since the early GWOT days.

School Liaison Officers (SLOs) serve as another support system, acting as bridges between military families and schools. SLOs work to ensure that military children's educational needs are met and that transitions between schools are as smooth as possible. They provide families with information about local education systems and advocate for policies that benefit military children. While the kids themselves may scoff, parents can take advantage of their assistance, especially in regard to the programs available locally they may be unaware of.

Military Children Month is not just a time to acknowledge the sacrifices and challenges faced by these young ones; it’s also a period to spotlight the remarkable programs and initiatives dedicated to supporting them. Through educational assistance, emotional support, and community-building activities, these programs play an essential role in fostering resilience, stability, and a sense of belonging among military children, ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive despite the challenges of military life. There is of course still work to do and support that is needed, but far and away it is a dramatic improvement on what the younger generations experienced.

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