2016-2017 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
April is Month of the Military Child. Established in 1986 by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, this designated month is a time to recognize the role that military children play in the lives of our military families.
According to the Department of Defense, there are:
- 1.7 Million Total-Force Dependent Children Worldwide
- 1.07 Million Active-Duty Dependent Children Worldwide
- Nearly 690,000 Guard/Reserve Dependent Children Worldwide
VFW National Home for Children Executive Director Patrice Green stated, “These are our nation’s “littlest heroes,” the young children who often shoulder the burdens of war. Through the eyes of a child, the effects of war on a family can be devastating. The emotional wounds, the financial stress, and the hopelessness of a fractured family are confusing and scary, and they can affect a child for a lifetime.”
Military children are faced with challenges that other youth their age rarely, if ever, experience. Frequent moves, new schools, extended separations from parents, stress due to deployment or the death of a parent are unique aspects of being a military child that children outside the military may never know.
In addition to the challenges mentioned above, military children are often far away from extended family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They rely on the military community to provide a support system to help them get through these, and other, major changes in their lives. There are many ways to recognize and honor military children, including:
- Donating to a local or national organization that works with military families and/or children, such as the VFW National Home for Children.
- Volunteering at your local school and talking about the experiences of military children.
- Sending a “thinking of you” card. Children love getting mail and a note letting them know you’re thinking of them will be sure to brighten their day.
- Hosting and/or participating in a children’s service fair; invite organizations in your area to speak with military families about the services they offer.
- Hosting an exclusive party for military children with food, music, games and tables set-up to provide information on VFW and Auxiliary programs.
Visit Military OneSource for additional resources for military children.