By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Month of the Military Child kicks off April 1 throughout the various branches of the Armed Services to recognize the military child experience.
“The Month of the Military Child brings to the forefront the important role children play in the military community,” said Toni Hansen, Child Development Center flight chief.
Ms. Hansen said military children undergo unique challenges, adding that they often have to adapt to their parent or loved one’s military obligations.
“Military children deal with having a parent deployed for a period of time and subsequently miss the opportunity to celebrate milestones and accomplishments with each other,” she said.
Despite the challenges they may face, she said there are programs available that provide ways for them to strengthen and maintain bonds.
One program includes the Stay Connected deployment kit offered by the Airman and Family Readiness Center.
“The purpose of the Stay Connected kit is to provide children an avenue to keep a connection during the deployed member’s time away from home,” said Andrea Hernandez, A&FRC community readiness consultant. “The kit contains two disposable cameras, which allows the child to create a photo journal of events that happen while the parent is away.”
Children will also find note cards, books, hand puppets, writing pens, flash lights, photo dog tags, a writing journal and a cooler bag inside the kit.
Ms. Hernandez said there are different ways deploying parents can obtain the kits for their children.
“The kit will be handed out during pre-deployment briefings and family members with currently deployed members will be contacted by phone or email on how to obtain a kit,” she said.
Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger designated April as the Month of the Military Child in 1986. Ms. Hansen said it’s one way to say ‘thank you’ to the military’s youngest supporters who, in their own way, serve alongside their parents or loved ones.
“As we move through April, take a moment to applaud our military children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome,” Ms. Hansen said.
For more information about the Stay Connected deployment kit, contact Master Sgt. Gabriel Moreno of the A&FRC at 567-3920.