AMES, Iowa -- Nearly 11,000 Iowa children have a parent or step-parent serving in the military. With mom or dad deployed, these children live with uncertainty and concern every day for months or years at a time. During April, the Month of the Military Child, take time to recognize the sacrifices these Military Kids and Families make.
“Many Military Families learn to cope, but multiple deployments are especially difficult for children,” said Chris Gleason, Iowa State University Extension state 4-H military liaison. “Military children look the same to their teachers, friends and community after a parent deploys, but their lives change dramatically.”
Through the Operation: Military Kids initiative, ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development is working with community school districts to provide teachers and counselors with resources and training they need to support military children throughout the deployment cycle, Gleason explained.
It isn’t just the children of soldiers who are affected by deployment, Gleason noted. Siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students of deployed teachers and coaches, and the kids next door are affected by deployment as well. Military personnel who deploy leave behind many young people who worry about them, and these worries may have a negative affect on their mental, emotional and social well-being.
Operation: Military Kids is a national effort to support children of deployed soldiers from all branches of the military including Guard and Reserve. Partners in this collaboration include Army Child, Youth and School Services; National 4-H Headquarters; Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development; Iowa National Guard; Iowa School Counselors Association; American Legion; Military Child Education Coalition; National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other state and local organizations.
Operation: Military Kids Iowa is funded by the 4-H/Army Youth Development Project Award #2007-48661-03868, a partnership of Army Child, Youth and School Services and National 4-H Headquarters/USDA.
For more information about Operation: Military Kids in Iowa see www.operationmilitarykids.org.
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, firstname.lastname@example.org