August 22, 2012 – As summer winds down, more than 1.3 million military kids are getting ready to go back to school. Though they may wish summer vacation would last just a little bit longer (don’t we all?), they are excited to reunite with old friends or meet new ones, participate in sports and after school activities, and begin a new year of studies.
Our military kids enrich their classmates and teachers based on their unique experiences as part of a military family. They are well traveled, some have lived in different countries, and many have attended more than one, two or even three schools. Our military kids are strong and resilient, but it is important for fellow students, teachers and communities to understand that they may be facing special circumstances and challenges. Perhaps they just moved and now have to start over at a new school and make new friends. They may have a parent who just left on deployment or who has just returned home. They may even have a parent who is wounded and most difficult of all, they may be coping with the loss of a parent or loved one.
With this in mind, we thought we would share with you some of the incredible resources the Department of Defense and a number of nonprofit organizations provide for our military kids.
The USO and Sesame Street are continuing the Sesame Street Experience for Military Families tour. The performance showcases the power of friendship when Elmo and his Sesame pals help Katie open up about her fears and excitement as she deals with moving to a new place and making new friends. The show comprises a fun-filled character performance with special giveaways and outreach materials for those who attend. Since its debut in July 2008, the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families has taken its message to more than 248,000 troops and military families and performed 433 shows on 131 military bases in 33 states and eleven countries.
Blue Star Families, in partnership with K.I.D.S. (Kids in Distressed Situations), encourages families to use the power of reading for positive impact through their Books on Bases program which provides books to installation libraries, DoD Schools and DoD impacted schools. Additionally, Blue Star Families’ Mil Kidz Club offers military kids opportunities to attend special events, and share their experiences with their peers.
In partnership with Blue Star Families, the USO Metro provides support to the large military population in the National Capital Area. The Me and A Friend program allows military kids to attend sporting and other fun entertainment events with a friend. Additionally, USO Metro holds events like deployed family fun days, and offers military kids a chance to walk in their parents’ shoes and learn valuable team building and leadership skills through Operation Basic Bootcamp.
Finally, you can learn more about other nonprofits that support our miltiary kids by visiting our Youth Programs and Support Page.
We wish all of our military kids (and their parents) a happy transition back to school!