April 3, 2014
By Tina Jeffords, Wisconsin National Guard Child and Youth Program coordinator
April is the Month of the Military Child
April is the “Month of the Military Child.” This month is a time to honor youth affiliated with the military. These silent heroes that stand behind our men and women in uniform make sacrifices every time their loved one deploys or leaves for training.
This year military leadership chose the theme “Young Lives, BIG Stories”. How appropriate! After nine years of working with military youth in Wisconsin, I know they have stories to share. I have witnessed many of them sharing those stories with other military youth that were experiencing deployment for the first time, or were facing the return of their service member and weren’t sure how it was all going to work. It is always heartwarming to see the relief on a military child’s face when they hear from another military child that everything is going to be ok – not necessarily easy, but ok.
In conjunction with this very appropriate theme, the Army is holding a “Share Your Story” contest. This is your military child’s chance to share their story with more than just Wisconsin military youth.
The Young Lives, BIG Stories contest is open to all military children preschool through 12th grade. Youth participants will have the opportunity to tell their story on “what it means to be a military child” through photos, words, drawings or videos. The goal of this contest is to tell the military’s story through the eyes of our children. Prizes will be given to one overall winner and the top entries in each category. Please visit ARMYMWR.com/MOMC to enter and to learn more.
The 4th annual Purple Up! for Military Kids is April 15, 2014. We ask that you join us in honoring the nearly 14,000 military youth in Wisconsin on April 15 by wearing purple.
There are other ways to honor military youth, you can write letters, say “thank you” to a military kid, or hold contests at your place of employment for the section that wears the most purple on that day. If you work out of the Wisconsin National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters, there will be a display table in the lobby with purple ribbons for you to wear beginning April 15.
Finally, if you have a military child in your life, and you want to say “thank you”, you can request a Wisconsin Child and Youth Program “Youth Unsung Hero Award”. Registration forms are available on www.wisconsinmilitary.org.
On behalf of the Wisconsin National Guard Child and Youth Program, I want to thank all of the Youth Unsung Heroes in our amazing state and great nation.