Military parents with school-aged children who are dealing with deployment, homecoming or transition can have access to a free toolkit through Comfort Crew, an organization that partners with the USO.
Comfort Crew brings two different types of help to military kids. A tour program teaches kids through a presentation at their school how to navigate the tough challenges and feelings that military life can bring. But parents who are looking for something a little more personal might love the organization's comfort kits, put together to help kids deal with emotional challenges..
“All of the kits have this core message emphasizing helping kids prepare for the challenges, communicate with each other and helping the kids be able to express their feelings,” said Angie McDonald, a spokesperson for the organization.
The organization, which I found when they had a booth at the recent Association of the United States Army conference, started hosting their events with the USO in 2010. They’ve since visited 150,000 military kids through that program, McDonald said, leaving them each with an “empowerment pack” toolkit containing an animated DVD talking about what they heard, and a journal to help them process their emotions.
Aimed at kids ages seven and up, the comfort kits would make a great gift for helping a military kid navigate some of the bigger military life challenges. The organization produces four – one for homecoming, one for deployment, one for injury and one for grief. All of them contain a DVD, a journal, a parent guide and a “comfort item” like a teddy bear.
“All of the kits have this core message emphasizing and helping [the kids] prepare for the challenges of military life, communicate and express their feelings,” McDonald said. “We want to let them know they’re not alone in addition to helping them navigate and express their feelings.”
Younger users may not be able to write in the journal exactly what emotions they are dealing with – but they can draw pictures to communicate their feelings instead, she suggested.
Over the Christmas season the organization is also collecting notes of encouragement for military kids via their website. Go here to check out that program.
The kits are totally free for military families. If you’re looking to help get them to your unit, you can work with your local USO chapter or contact Comfort Crew directly, she said. If you’re looking to get them just for your own family, you can also simply give them a call at 512-337-CREW.