Mission United Celebrates the Month of the Military Child
For nearly 40 years, April has been recognized as the Month of a Military Child by the U.S. Department of Defense. There are over 1.6 million military children currently undergoing unique experiences resulting from their parents’ service. During this month, we take the time to acknowledge and thank the children of our active duty service members and veterans.
The burden that comes with being a military child can often go unnoticed. The challenges these children face and the sacrifices they must make can be overwhelming at such a young age. According to research done by the National Military Family Association, 42% of military children surveyed report having experienced low mental well-being.
Whether it be moving from place to place or spending time away from deployed family members, these children are met with many hardships and should be given support during such formative years of their lives.
To offer our support and gratitude, Mission United, an initiative of United Way of South Hampton Roads, sponsored an event for children at the Armed Forces YMCA, an organization that offers daycare services for children of service members who are based in the Lincoln Military Housing community.
Mission United provided materials for a painting activity that allowed the children to paint their perspective of service and what it means to them. Staff also hosted a reading of Hug in the Wind by Tim Steiner, a children’s book centered around easing the sadness of missing a loved one.
“I love that we get to show appreciation to the children at the Armed Forces Y for their parents who serve our nation and are frequently forced to leave them for long periods of time. Without the support and understanding of their children, service members have an added obstacle in service to our country. The family plays a critical role in supporting our brave service men and women.” – Matthew Vinson, Director of Mission United and Chaplain Corp in the U.S. Navy Reserve
When April ends, these children will still bear the impact that comes with being a member of a military family, so it is important to offer any help or resources available.
Here are some other ways to show support to military children in our local community:
- Wear purple to express gratitude for their strength and resilience.
- Evaluate what programs your local schools and community offer to support these children.
- Foster an environment of open communication and listen without interruption.
- Stay educated – Keep up to date with research conducted to learn ways we can serve our military kids.
- Plan a celebration! In periods of grief or hard times, an event to recognize these children can lift their spirits when they least expect it.