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New Partnership Aims to Reach Military Kids

I've noticed something new in the military community recently. Instead of creating new programs and organizations, more and more groups are simply linking arms and joining forces to make a difference.

The latest push out of the Boys and Girls Club of America is a perfect example of that. Rather than spend money launching a series of new outreach efforts, early this month they helped launch "Better Together," a public/private partnership that seeks to reach military kids where they live.

One of the big problems with many military youth programs is that they are often held on base -- where most military kids do not live. That means the majority of those kids are looking to the civilian community for their after school and developmental programs. But military kids have unique challenges, and not every civilian-based program is versed in how to help with them.

Enter the Boys and Girls Club and their new partnership with the National Military Family AssociationBlue Star Families and the Association of the United States Army, among others.

Boys and Girls Clubs already serve about 450,000 military kids every year, officials there said -- but they are looking to help an additional 250,000.

So how are they going to do it? Over the next several years, they said, they'll be working in between seven and 15 "highly impacted" military communities (imagine areas with a big military population like Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State, for example) and giving out free Boys and Girls Club memberships as well as helping those kids access mental health support when they need it.

So often giving kids a helping hand is as simple as a mentor knowing the child needs it, and that's the kind of support in which Boys and Girls Club specializes.

You can check out more about the club's new partnership here.

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