For nearly 40 years, April 1 has marked the Defense Department’s kickoff for the Month of the Military Child, and this month promises to be packed with events for parents and children of all ages, said a program analyst in DOD’s Children, Youth and Families, Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, Military Community and Family Policy.
Dianna M. Ganote said DOD is supporting this month with the theme of mental health and the overall well-being of all military children.
The Month of the Military Child is a time to focus on and celebrate the contributions of military children and the unique needs of their lives, she noted.
The objective for this month’s recognition is to “highlight the unique life and challenges of military children. Our goal is to improve their quality of life and help mitigate the demands they experience from all the transitions, such as frequent moves, parental separations for military training and worrying about their parents when they’re deployed” Ganote said.
While DOD sets aside April to recognize military children, support for them is present year-round, she noted. At the installation level, families will find such support resources as child development centers, youth centers, Military and Family Support Centers and military and family life counselors.
Front and center in the support realm for military parents and their children is MilitaryOneSource.mil – DOD’s 24/7 gateway to trusted information, resources and confidential help, including topics that parents might need for child-raising issues. The website also has resources and events listed that are dedicated to the Month of the Military Child. The phone number for Military OneSource is 800-342-9647.
Off the installations, there is community-partner support for military children through their schools and organizations such as 4-H and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, she said.
Ganote highlighted how military children have a tough road to travel as an integral part of DOD’s readiness by moving approximately six to nine times in their lives. When their parents are deployed, their children’s milestones such as birthdays, the holidays and graduations are sometimes missed. But these children are not alone, she said, because without their children’s support, military parents wouldn’t easily handle the important mission of serving their country.
“I’d like us to remember what military children’s lives are like and how unique their challenges. It’s quite incredible when we think about the transitions they go through that most children don’t, and our military children are so resilient through it all.” she said.
And the color purple is important to the DOD community, because it reflects all branches of the military. “Across the nation, and around the world every April, states, governments, schools and families all do their part by wearing purple or shining a purple light on their homes, schools, state capitals and local landmarks,” Ganote said.
”I would invite everyone to take a moment to support military children during April,” she said.
About Military OneSource
Military OneSource is a DOD-funded program that is both a call center and a website providing comprehensive information, resources and assistance on every aspect of military life. Service members and the families of active duty, National Guard and reserve (regardless of activation status), Coast Guard members when activated for the Navy, DOD expeditionary civilians and survivors are eligible for Military OneSource services, which are available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free to the user.