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Celebrating the Month of The Military Child

The lives of military children are marked by a unique culture and set of circumstances, oftentimes making them feel isolated from their non-military counterparts. The sacrifices these children make are easily overshadowed by the experiences of their active-duty family members. But make no mistake – a military kid has an inner strength like no other. 

Coping with the deployment of one or both parents to war zones, frequent moves, living in cultures far different from their own – these types of experiences can set military children apart. 

Studies show that there are some potentially positive outcomes of living a military life as a child. Military children tend to be very adaptable and resilient. They often have an increased cultural awareness and acceptance that can only come from connecting with various parts of the world first-hand. These kids tend to roll with the punches and shift gears with minimal stress because change is nothing new to them. 

Of course, there are two sides to every coin. Along with the upsides of a military childhood come some potential struggles. The transitory lifestyle many military children live can hinder their ability to develop concrete relationships, which may be problematic both early on and later in life. Additional concerns can stem from the variations in availability of educational resources or even just educational paradigms within which military children must work as they move from place to place. 

It’s fair to say that from a young age, this unique group of children faces challenges most civilians won’t ever have to navigate in their lifetime. 

In an effort to honor the challenges faced and sacrifices made by our military kids, former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger established April as The Month of The Military Child. Not only is this a month to focus on military child support via special programs and activities, it is a time to honor the incredible resiliency this group of young, unsung American heroes displays every day. 

Where Can I Learn About The Month of The Military Child Activities and Events?

Many of this months’ events will be hosted or sponsored by military communities across the globe. Check with the Office of Public Affairs on base to get started. Military Readiness Centers, on-base Child Development Centers, and The Department of Defense Dependent School can also be great resources to learn how your community is celebrating. 

Creative Ways to Celebrate the Month of The Military Child

Wear Purple – April 22nd is Purple Up! Day. This is the day for communities, military and non-military alike, to don purple in a show of support for military children. Purple indicates that all branches of the Military are represented. 

Eat Purple – Similar to green foods on St. Patricks Day, prepare a purple meal to show your military kids that they mean the world to you. Food coloring can easily transform everyday foods or beverages into a special treat. Think purple milk, purple mashed potatoes, or purple rice. If you want to go the more natural route, try adding purple cauliflower, grapes, or berries to your military child’s plate. 

Make a Video – Make a purple- or military-themed video in honor of The Military Child Month, and then share it on your social pages. TikTok is a fantastic platform for creating videos with all kinds of fun effects. 

Use Facebook – Engage your community online! Ask your kiddo a military-inspired question and post his or her answer. Call on other military parents to do the same and ask them share their childrens’ answers in the comments. A few ideas: 

  • What does it take to be a hero? 
  • What do you love most about being a military kid? 
  • What does being a child of the military mean to you?
  • What does honor mean to you?

Tap Into Hashtags – Don’t forget to tag your posts with the best military child hashtags around. Here are some to get you started: 

  • #kidsservetoo
  • #militarychild
  • #purpleup
  • #motmc
  • #militarykids
  • #monthofthemilitarychild

Present an “Official” Thank You – Search the web for printable certificates in honor of Month of The Military Child, or just use this one. Fill in your military kid’s name, print, and present it to him or her in a creative way. 

Decorate! – Celebrate your military child with a special space in your home. It could be his or her bedroom door, the kitchen bulletin board, a wall in your dining room or anyplace else they see regularly. Add photos of them with their military family member, mementos from different places they’ve lived, maybe even some military memorabilia that has meaning to them. 

Resources for the Military Child (and Their Families)

Whether you are expecting your first or transitioning your last to college, there are a plethora of resources available to support military children and their families.

Military Kids Connect – A place for military kids to connect with each other. The site offers opportunities for children to develop and build relationships with friends who understand what it’s like to be part of a military family. 

Focus Project – FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) provides resilience training to military children and their families by teaching practical skills to help overcome common challenges. The program helps build on each child’s current strengths and teaches new strategies for communication, problem solving, goal setting, and creating a shared family story.

Military Installations New Parent Support Program – Helps military parents, including expectant parents, transition successfully into parenthood and provide a nurturing environment for their children. The program offers support and guidance for many of the unique challenges that face military families.

MilitaryChildcare.com – This secure DOD website provides a single location to find comprehensive information on military-operated and/or military-approved childcare programs worldwide. Once you create an account and household profile, you have access to all of these resources at any time from any location. 

Military OneSource Digital LibraryYou’ll find ebooks and audiobooks on every topic imaginable. Also available are databases and reference books to help you learn a new skill and keep kids engaged.  

Celebrate Your Military Child

There’s a reason that the dandelion is the unofficial flower of the Military Child. These incredible kids bloom everywhere the winds carry them. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate The Month of The Military Child, remember the goal is simple: remind military children across the world of how incredibly important they are to our country and to their families.

Scholarships for Military Children

One of the most daunting details of a college education is perhaps also the biggest blockade as well: the cost of school and the ability to afford tuition. Even local community schools often come with fees that are beyond the scope of a military family. Fortunately, Fisher House Foundation and select companies make scholarships earmarked for Military children possible.
Over the past 17 years, the Fisher House Foundation has administered scholarship grants to nearly 11,000 students. These grants are courtesy of the Defense Commissary Agency and its business partners. Fisher House Foundation has volunteered to award and administer the funds, ensuring that every penny raised is awarded to a deserving recipient.
The nearly 11,000 students over the years have been selected from over 90,000 applicants. Potential applicants are eligible if they are the child of an active duty servicemember, reservist, guard or a retired commissary customer.  All eligible applicants should also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and be enrolled or enrolling in a 2- or 4-year degree program for the upcoming fall. Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2019 Semester.
Do you have a college student or graduating senior? The 2019 program application is currently available. Applications must be submitted online by February 15th.
Applicants will be reviewed by Scholarship Managers, a scholarship management firm. This professional firm contracts with Fisher House Foundation. All applicants are evaluated and the most qualified of the group are awarded. 500 Grants will be awarded for the 2019-2020 Academic year. Each grant will be $2,000. To ensure that all funds raised are awarded as scholarship grants, Fisher House Foundation does not charge for its services and covers the cost of the scholarship management contract.
The entirety of the program is funded by Commissary business partners. It is through the extreme generosity that the scholarship fund is even possible. Manufacturers and suppliers keep products on shelves at Commissaries worldwide and the purchase of those products fund the Scholarships for Military Children program.
For more information regarding the scholarship program, application instructions and sponsor information, please visit https://militaryscholar.org/sfmc/index.html.
Per the Fisher House Foundation website and corresponding press releases regarding the Scholarships for Military Children program:
The Defense Commissary Agency and Fisher House Foundation gratefully acknowledge the support and monetary donations of all contributors and especially the following business partners for the 2018 scholarship program:
Four Star Donors – $50,000 or greater
Fisher House Foundation
Reynolds Consumer Products
Three Star Donors – $25,000 to $49,999
522 Foundation
Kahlert Foundation, Inc.
Kellogg’s
MDV, A SpartanNash Company
Procter & Gamble
Two Star Donors – $10,000 to $24,999
Dial, a Henkel Company
Ferrara Candy Company
Frank and Joanna Hogan
J.M. Smucker Company
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Red Bull
One Star Donors – $2,000 to $9,999
American Logistics Association – Hampton Roads Chapter
Association of US Army – MG Greene Chapter
Bath Fitter
Commander William S. Stuhr Scholarship Fund
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Elite Brands
Energizer
In Honor of MSgt. Loyd J. Rockhold, USMC
Mars Wrigley
Lt. Col. Ron Mattana Scholarship Fund
Pepperidge Farm
PepsiCo
PepsiCo “In Memory of Murry Greenwald”
Pharmavite
Pride Industries
SC Johnson, A Family Company
The Hershey Company
Unilever William and Helen Sherman
Supporting Brokers & Distributors Representatives
Acosta Sales & Marketing
Advantage Sales & Marketing
American Logistics Association
Coastal Pacific Food Distributors
Dunham & Smith Agencies
Exchange & Commissary News
Favata Bakery, Inc.
Military Media Inc.
Military Deli & Bakery Services, Inc.
Military Times / Sightline Media Group
Northeast Military Sales
Overseas Service Corp. / Webco Services Co
Sodexo
 

Investigation into the Sexual Assaults of Military Children

child assault

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. military has been derelict in its duty to protect and provide justice to the children of servicemembers when they are sexually assaulted by other children on base.

Tens of thousands of children and teenagers live and attend school on U.S. military bases while their parents serve the country. Yet if they are sexually violated by a classmate, a neighborhood kid or a sibling, they often get lost in a legal and bureaucratic netherworld. That’s because military law doesn’t apply to civilians, and the federal legal system that typically handles civilian crimes on base isn’t equipped or inclined to prosecute juveniles.

Reports of sexual violence among minors on U.S. military bases at home and abroad often only get as far as the desks of prosecutors. Many cases get lost in the system, with neither victim nor offender receiving help.

The Pentagon has rules and support systems to combat sexual violence among service members, but when it comes to student-on-student assaults, officials can only point to three paragraphs of guidelines that generally prohibit sexual harassment or “physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

As a result, reports of student sex assault languish.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have requested that the Pentagon’s inspector general begin a “comprehensive assessment” of department policies related to sexual assault among military children in schools and elsewhere on base.

“It disturbs us to learn that the department’s policies and procedures may prevent efforts to help child victims of misconduct … and to rehabilitate and hold child offenders accountable,” they wrote.

Pentagon school officials said they were developing new rules and guidance for reporting and responding to such violence. Officials also said the school system had appointed additional staff to advise families on their rights and available resources, among other reforms.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Wilkie Pushes for Culture Shift Within the Military

wilkie

By Debbie Gregory.

Robert Wilkie, the Department of Defense’s new undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, is shifting the emphasis of the military culture to create a more stable, family friendly environment.

Wilke is responsible for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.

Wilkie understands that the constant moves made by servicemembers have a direct effect on their family members, limiting the career options of many military spouses, and prohibiting military children from putting down roots with friends and schools.

Wilkie, himself an Army brat, has walked the walk. He said, “If the families aren’t happy, the soldier walks.” Wilkie also serves in the Air Force Reserve.

Under the current system, troops are pushed out of the military if they don’t constantly advance along their career path. Wilkie said the Pentagon has come to the realization that it may need to change how the military operates in order to meet modern threats.

Wilkie credits growing up near Fort Bragg as great preparation for his new position. But he cites the readiness of the military as one of the issues that keeps him up at night. He said new planes are worthless if there are no people to maintain or fly them.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

House Vote Reduces GI Bill Housing Stipend for Military Children

bah cut

By Debbie Gregory.

The House of Representatives approved a bill that would cut, by half, the housing stipend for children of service members going to school with transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it would need to pass and then be signed by the president to become law.

The language, part of the Veterans Employment, Education and Healthcare Act, cuts the payment for children of service members using the transferred funding. It would not apply to benefits already transferred or transferred within 180 days of the bill becoming law.

The housing stipend, often one of the most valuable parts of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, is typically calculated based on the Basic Allowance for Housing that active-duty service members would receive if stationed where the school is located. The housing stipend may be worth as much as the tuition and fees the benefit covers, sometimes more.

A spokesman for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said the cuts were necessary to offset, or pay for, other aspects of the bill. He also noted that the cuts were less drastic than those recommended from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, said that while the bill has “absolutely wonderful programs,” paying for those by reducing a benefit that service members have been promised “is an egregious breach of trust.”

“Why come to the soldiers first? There’s no other place in the federal government we can find this [funding]?” Walz asked.

Veteran and military groups seem to be split on whether or not this is a good move.

Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans both wrote letters favoring the overall bill.

The Association of the United States Navy and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are against the cuts.

The measure would not affect the stipends of veterans using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits they earned themselves.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Are Military Children Under-Vaccinated?

vaccine

By Debbie Gregory.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a highly debated, hot topic issue. Some parents feel vaccinations do no harm, while others believe they cause autism. Children, however, are required to have a certain number of vaccinations and boosters before they begin school. And according to researchers, children with parents in the military may have lower vaccination rates than their peers.

Dr. Angela Dun, who led a recent study, says a check of medical records on some military children show they are either missing vaccines, or at the very least, the records of their vaccinations.

“They move around a lot, they don’t have the same primary care providers all throughout childhood,” said Dunn.

Along with her colleagues, Dunn looked at the immunization records of over 3,000 military children. They  ranged in age from 19 months to 3 years old. Approximately 28% didn’t have evidence of being up to date on their vaccines, as compared to 21% of civilian children.

Initially, Dunn said she was trying to show that a single-payer health insurance system would solve some of the problems she uncovered. She assumed the U.S. military’s Tricare health insurance plan would set as an example for the disjointed U.S. health care system, but came across the surprising results instead.

“I don’t want the message to be ‘Oh, my god, military kids aren’t being taken care of.’ We don’t know that,” she said.

Dunn was surprised to see that there are lower coverage rates in the military.

The researchers say that in addition to being military dependents, factors that made kids less likely to be up-to-date on vaccines included being younger than 30 months, having mothers without a college degree or unmarried parents, and moving from state to state or receiving vaccines from more than one health care provider.

Given the mobility inherent in military life, the lack of a single vaccine registry for all branches of the armed services might also be contributing to incomplete records, Dr. Dennis Conrad, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, said

As far as finding a solution for this issue, Dunn says the 2010 Affordable Care Act seeks to encourage adoption of better electronic health records that are easily accessible to any doctor approved by a patient. This would greatly reduce the amount of lost documentation on a patient. Although it is hard to get a universal software system, it would be even harder to ensure patient privacy.

“If we can find a solution within the military system, I think that would be a great starting point for the rest of the U.S. as well.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Are Military Children Under-Vaccinated?: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Military Family Month: By Debbie Gregory

Military familyNovember 11th is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor and recognize the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served in our military. While the citizens of this country could never do enough to show their gratitude to Veterans, over the last several years, government projects, corporate events and individual personal initiatives have made honoring military Veterans a 365 day a year occasion. But often, the sacrifices made by the families that support our men and women in uniform get overlooked. That is why, since 1993, November has been declared Military Family Month.

In a statement issued on October 31st, President Obama proclaimed November 2014 as Military Family Month to acknowledge the tremendous contributions military families make in support of our service members and our nation. The proclamation said:

“During Military Family Month, we recognize every spouse, parent, sibling, child, and loved one who stands with our service members, and we reaffirm our solemn vow to serve these families as well as they serve us.”

Military families contribute more to the war effort that they will ever know. Their letters, emails, care packages and love help service members through the hardest times. Often, even the memory of time spent with loved ones can boost a service member’s morale. But what most Americans don’t always see are the sacrifices made by the military family members who don’t wear a uniform.

While all of today’s service members have volunteered to serve, their families, especially their children, did not. And they sacrifice a great deal too. Spouses single-handedly manage their households while their loved ones are deployed. Children of service members often go months without their military parent being able to attend school functions, sporting events, holidays and birthdays, not to mention just being physically present in their lives. Often times, parents and other family members help their service member pay bills, raise children, care for their pets, and maintain vehicles and property while their hero is deployed.

Being a military family member is a tough job, one that is often thankless and full of hardships. Please do all that you can to honor, recognize and thank military families in your community.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Military Family Month: By Debbie Gregory