Month of the Military Child


April is the Month of the Military Child. A time to focus in on our children.


Month of the Military Child

For well over ten years April has been set aside as the Month of the Military child.The Month of the Military Child offers the opportunity to focus on military children and honor their sacrifice.

Installations and other organizations throughout the military community willsponsor activities and events for Service members' children. Check with your local Family Center, Family Readiness Group, or Youth Services to find out what's happening in your communityto celebratethe Military Child.

PBS stations will be airing a special on 1 April. The special is titled"Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change" and is part of Sesame Workshop's"Talk, Listen, Connect" series.

Sesame Street has been teaching kids to count, read and eat cookies in moderation for decades. Now the producers behind the show are branching into a different territory, with a primetime special called "Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change." The show, premiering April 1st (check local listings), is part of Sesame Workshop's "Talk, Listen, Connect" initiative to help families and children dealing with military deployments and combat-related injuries.

You can watch a preview here.

This week,Dr. Jeanette Betancourtfrom Sesame Workshop, joins us to answer "Five Good Questions." As Vice President for Outreach and Educational Practices, Betancourt develops outreach initiatives for domestic and international audiences. She has produced and advised educational programs in areas such as literacy, health, education, and safety. For the "Talk, Listen, Connect" initiative, Dr. Betancourt works to ensure that the materials are appropriate for the diverse audiences and families who will benefit from them.

Leave your questions for Dr. Betancourt below and I'll choose five for her to answer. Check back next week for her responses.

Elmo was recently in the media discussing the newest TLC DVD, you can view the video here.

Army Events for this month can be found here. Check with your local military installation for local activities taking place this month.

United Concordia (Tricare Dental Program) is again supporting the Month of the Military Child by sponsoring a prize giveaway. You can find the details hereon page 6. You can visit the Tricare Dentalwebsite2April - 29 April, 2009 to enter.


Month of the Military Child - April 2009What is it? April is the "Month of the Military Child." Since it began in 1986, the Department of Defense (DOD) has teamed with various partners to recognize the sacrifices and applaud the courage of military children. More than 1.7 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military. It is estimated the U.S. Army has more than 900,000 military children with one or both parents having deployed multiple times.Throughout April, U.S. Army installations world-wide will conduct a variety of fun and exciting events, during which senior leaders will visually and verbally recognize the sacrifices and challenges of military children. Why is it important to the Army? The Army must build trust and confidence among Soldiers, families and military children while recognizing the commitment and increasing sacrifices our families make every day. The strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families. Sustaining Soldiers is critical to sustaining an all-volunteer force. During the month of April, leaders and parents are asked to encourage military children with celebrations, speeches, posters, spots in the media, and through personal contact to let our military children know that because of their unique courage, contributions to the Army family, and daily sacrifices, they are everyday heroes in the eyes of the Army and the nation.What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? We have developed a "Month of the Military Child" website which lists general information about the month, installation activities, and captures and displays personal stories from military children and their parents. Parents of military children are being encouraged to download, sign, and present their children with the "Everyday Hero" certificate to reinforce parental appreciation of their children's courage and sacrifice at the Month of the Military Child Web site. Throughout April, U.S. Army installations worldwide are hosting a variety of events for military children to help them celebrate and be recognized as "everyday heroes." As evidenced by the Army family covenant, the Army is committed to providing military children with a quality of life commensurate with their sacrifices. The Army is committed to ensuring excellence in schools, youth services and child care, and is standardizing and funding programs and services that support the military child.


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More updates will be added to this post as they are published during the month.


Celebrating a military connected child each day

The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) today announced its plan to celebrate the Month of the Military Child by featuring a guest post by a new, military-connected child each weekday on The Voice for the Military Child Blog (www.voiceforthemilitarychild.org). In these posts, children will describe their unique experience through essays and poems, often completing the sentence: "I'm proud to be a military child, because..." They will supplement their posts with photos of themselves with their military parent or guardian.

Many of the participants are middle and high school students involved in the MCEC's signature Student 2 Student (S2S) and Junior Student 2 Student (JS2S) programs. These student-centered, student-led programs train teams of advisors and students to provide leadership to students transitioning to or from their school. The majority of the 185 programs are based in schools with sizable populations of military-connected children. S2S and JS2S members guide their peers through three aspects of transitions: academics, relationships and finding the way.

"We're thrilled to take advantage of this opportunity to call attention to the service and resilience of our country's military-connected children," said Dr. Mary Keller, president and CEO of the MCEC. "We honor these children, in name, during April. But they need the support of their guardians, educators, counselors, peers and community leaders year-round."

Throughout its 10-year history, the MCEC has provided research-based and field-tested initiatives and trainings - like S2S and JS2S - in support of the 660,000 school-age military children in the United States. Other resources for children and their families include:

- Call for the Arts: The MCEC promotes the arts by featuring the great work of military children. Each year, children submit work that is utilized in publications and at events.

- SchoolQuest: The MCEC built this online resource to help transitioning families make informed decisions about school transitions.

- Space Camp Scholarship: Each year, the MCEC awards scholarships for 15 military-connected students to attend NASA Space Camp. The scholarships are given in honor of Bernard Curtis Brown II, a military child killed on September 11, 2001.

- Early Literacy: The MCEC developed "Growing, Learning, Understanding" kits to improve the reading skills of students from birth to second grade. The books included in these kits address challenges faced by military families.

- Tell Me a Story: This MCEC initiative gathers military children and their parents to listen to and then discuss the books described above.

About the Military Child Education Coalition

The Military Child Education Coalition is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization that promotes partnerships and provides for networking of military installations and their supporting school districts.Their focus is to address transition and other educational issues related to the military-connected child, including active duty, National Guard, and Reserves. The Military Child Education Coalition seeks to include all military installations, their supporting schools, concerned organizations and caring individuals.For more information, please visit www.MilitaryChild.org.

The Gift of Being a Military Child

By Janet Farley Across the services, wherever we are stationed, we take time this month to recognize the unsung hero in our world who lives this often-complicated life by chance - not choice - and who makes daily sacrifices in support of the greater military family.

We honor the military child.

They live their lives in the shadows of their parents, on the sidelines of the big game called life. They're issued passports at birth, ID cards at 10 years old, and keys to our hearts the second we know of their existence.

They've said goodbye to one or even both of their parents more times than they can remember, each time not knowing when or if they will ever see them again.

They change schools on the average of six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation and best friends way too many times to count.

No matter their age or how glamorous the next "home" sounds, there are tears, fears, and painful adjustments to be made with each move. And yet, each time, the tears are brushed aside, the fears allayed, and the adjustments somehow made over and over again with a remarkable resilience not often found in those so young to this world.

Maybe you can appreciate the whole dynamic from a parental perspective, or perhaps you are a veteran brat who experienced the military brat lifestyle yourself. But either way, anyone who has had to explain "why" to anyone old enough to ask understands the deal all too well. This way of life, despite continual efforts to make it better, is not an easy one. Those without a real understanding of it often are left confused and dazed.

During the month of April, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have our military children in our lives right now because, sadly, they won't stay there forever.

Indeed, they grow up and they go on to live their own lives, making their own headlines and choices. Many look back to the lessons learned in their military childhoods to guide them along the way.

Take Carrie for example, an Army brat near and dear to my heart who to me will always be a feisty 10 year old intent on devising new ways in which to terrorize her younger, rambunctious brother. Her dad was our unit commander many years ago. Our families became and still remain good friends. I recently interviewed her mother for an article about the challenges facing military children, and Carrie had to put in her two cents as well.

She agreed that growing up as a military brat wasn't always easy and that school challenges became especially difficult during her high school years. She spoke of the pain of saying goodbye to friends and the challenges that came with starting over again and again at new schools and making new friends.

A couple days after our conversation, however, I received a follow-up email from her. She was adamant that I knew, despite the challenges, that she wouldn't have had it any other way. She was extremely proud to be a military child; proud of not only her father's faithful service but her whole family's service as well. She was happy that she was given the opportunity to travel the world, live in different countries, and meet people from all walks of life. She credited who she was today to those experiences.

Carrie is all grown up now, to the dismay and delight of her now-retired military parents. She lives far away from anywhere she called home while growing up as a military child. She now works in a world she is comfortable in, serving our country as a social worker with the wounded warrior program. She isn't my child, but I am very proud of her anyhow.

I'm certain you have a Carrie in your life. Maybe she is only 10 years old and struggling with fifth grade fractions. Maybe he is 17 and trying to figure out where he wants to go to college next year. Perhaps she is mercifully only 7 years old and still considers you the center of the universe.

Whoever the military children are in your life, hold them closely not only this month, but each and every day. Teach them. Guide them. Honor them, for they will live what they've learned as military children. Finally, be thankful for them, for their greatest gift to us is the fact that they are in our lives at all - and that makes us very lucky.

DoDEA Press Release

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) joins the Department of Defense and military communities worldwide in celebrating April as Month of the Military Child.

Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and challenges they overcome. The observance is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger who established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986.

"We should all take notice of the unique role that military children, some of the most deserving youth in America, play in our society," said Dr. Shirley A. Miles, DoDEA Director. "They assume some special responsibilities that deserve our understanding and recognition. Growing up as a military child, I can appreciate what military children experience, the sacrifices they make, and the challenges they often face."

Miles knows the importance of DoDEA schools to military families around the world.

"DoDEA teachers and staff members are uniquely positioned to understand, nurture, and educate military children," she said. "Our mission is to ensure highest student achievement for all of our students and to prepare them for success in life. DoDEA schools are an important element of stability in welcoming students wherever their skills and talents are, advancing them to the next level, and preparing them for their future."

Throughout the month, DoDEA will encourage schools to plan special events to honor military children and have administrators and principals incorporate the themes of this month into their every day duties and responsibilities. These efforts and special events will stress the importance of providing children with quality services and support to help them succeed in the mobile military lifestyle.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten - 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

MHS Celebrates Month of the Military Child

During April's Military Child Month, the Military Health System offers resources to the parents and family members who help provide children with the care they need to grow and develop into maturity. Military Children often face additional stress related to deployments and time spent with a parent away from home. Therefore, additional support is often needed to ensure that children receieve the guidance and direction they need.

Helping Your Child Cope

Here are a few things you can do to help your child overcome the unique challenges associated with military life. Give your child the upper hand by taking strucuted time out of your day to help them understand the changing world around them.

  • Talk to your children about how military deployments are necessary to protect the nation.
  • When a parent is deployed, help your child assemble gift packages to send and show their support.
  • When your child moves to a new city, ensure that he or she is able to connect with other children and enjoy childhood.
  • Visit your child's school to meet new teachers and administrators and learn what is expected from you and your child.
  • Give your child time to adjust to a new location and new people. Be sure to pay close attention to how your child reacts to a new location.
  • Get to know other military parents in your area and find out how you can work together to support the children in your community. Check the links below to find useful resources that will give your child a great start on life.

More from MHS can be found here

Statement from the President

"In 1986, April was designated as the Month of the Military Child, and I am proud to mark the special recognition the Department of Defense has given to military children. Like all Americans, I am grateful to the brave men and women in uniform who are serving our nation. They are the living embodiment of the ideals of sacrifice, honor and duty that have always made this Nation great - and their sacrifice is their families' sacrifice too. Their children, especially, display tremendous strength and courage each day, bravely bearing the burden of having a loved one serving in harm's way. They may move many times - across the nation and even around the world - as they grow up. They may not see their loved ones for months on end. It is not easy, and Michelle and I, as well as the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, admire and are deeply grateful to each and every one of them. I call on all Americans to keep military children in their thoughts and prayers and to do their part to reach out to and support them and their families."

DoD and Military Celebrate Month of the Military Child

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