Arlington, VA (PRWEB) April 10, 2014
Military kids are making big sacrifices alongside their parents, from long separations during deployments to multiple relocations to learning to cope with a parent coming home changed from visible or invisible wounds of war, today’s military family is strong and resilient but they still need America’s support. April is Month of the Military Child and a time to recognize the sacrifices made by military children. With more than 50 percent of active duty troops being married, and approximately 40 percent of military families having more than two dependent children, families are a top-priority for the military and the USO. This month the USO will support our nation’s littlest heroes with programs, events and entertainment to help families cope with the stressors of deployments, relocations and reintegration.
“We’ve heard time and time again from our deployed troops that knowing their family back home is being taken care of is what gives them peace of mind,” said USO Vice President of Warrior and Family Care Ed Shock. “Having served in the military myself and being the father of six kids, I know first-hand the toll relocations and deployments can have on children. The USO is America’s way to support troops with programs and services developed to keep military families connected, build stronger bonds and help families cope with the challenges of military life.”
Whether they are sharing their fears and concerns with peers, taking a moment to be entertained by some of their favorite preschool characters or getting the tools and resources to better cope with military living, troops and their families will be able to participate in the following USO programs and events during April:
Operation: That’s My Dress, the USO and international designer Sherri Hill will team up on April 13, 2014, for the fourth USO Operation: That’s My Dress. Hundreds of military daughters, service women and military spouses will have the opportunity to find the perfect dress for their very special occasion – from prom, to military balls, guests will have more than 400 dresses to choose from. This year, for the first time designer Sherri Hill and special guests Korie and Sadie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” will be on-hand in New York to help make the experience even more memorable.
Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, kicked-off its seven-month stateside experience with military families at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois on April 3, 2014, and will visit nine more installations this month alone. Since its debut in July 2008, the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families has taken its message of support to more than 412,000 troops and military families, helping them to cope with the challenges of deployments and homecomings. In 2014, the tour is expected to perform over 200 shows at 69 installations in 32 states by late October. For a complete list of tour stops click here.
Special Delivery, in partnership with the What to Expect Foundation and author Heidi Murkoff, the USO will host a very special baby shower for military moms-to-be at Fort Riley in Kansas on April 9, 2014. Special Delivery events bring hundreds of expectant and new military moms together to celebrate their newest additions. Each baby shower features food, gifts and games, as well as a Q&A session and book signing with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” author Heidi Murkoff.
TAPS USO Good Grief Camp, these camps are specifically targeted to support military children between the ages of 6 – 17 years of age, grieving the loss of a parent or sibling in the Armed Forces. A three-day camp will be held this month for military families at Fort Carson in Colorado. Good Grief camps provide children and teens a safe and supportive atmosphere to participate in activities, learn coping skills, establish and identify support systems and create awareness that they are not alone in their grief.
Tiny Tots, all year round the USO’s Tiny Tots program helps to keep military families connected. Deployed dads, who are unable to attend the birth of their child, can visit their USO center in Southwest Asia and request a Tiny Tots package be sent home to their loved one. The package includes a lotion gift set, cuddle buddy, USO tote bag, USO bib and a personalized card from Dad.
United Through Reading’s Military Program partners with Debbie Fink author of “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.,” to kickoff the USO/United Through Reading The Little C.H.A.M.P.S. Campaign, during the month of April, copies of Fink’s inspirational book will be available at participating USO locations worldwide. Deployed parents will be able to record themselves reading the book and send both a video recording and a copy of the book back home to their families. Co-authored with her daughter Jennifer, “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.” tells the story of five CHAMPS (Child Hero Attached to Military Personnel), from each service of the military, as they cope with deployments, saying goodbye, and when a parent returns home wounded.
With You All The Way, inspirational author Trevor Romain will take his USO/With You All the Way Tour! on the road to military families in Jacksonville, Fl., April 29th – 30th. The tour will provide military families with the tools necessary to overcome everyday challenges such as bullying, lengthy deployments, reintegration and when a parent returns home with visible and invisible wounds.
Additionally, the USO will celebrate Month of the Military Child with events held across the world at our more than 160 locations – including kids coloring contests and appreciation events. On April 1, 2014, the USO opened doors to its second Warrior and Family Center. The newest center is located on the campus of Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home of Walter Reed Military Medical Center (WRMMC) and will be an integral part of the healing process for families recovering at WRMMC, including the children of our wounded troops. The center features an art and music studio, where troops and their families will be able to come and relax and either learn to play an instrument or hone their skills with their peers. Family-friendly activities will be a primary focus for the center, and the spacious kitchen will allow for many family dinners and offer a place for the community to gather and bond.
With more than 50 programs and services and partnerships with more than 30 best-in-class organizations, the USO is uniquely positioned to be the only organization to support America’s military throughout their service. From the moment troops join, through their deployments and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is there for them with career building workshops, family strengthening programs and caregiver support. Throughout the month of April the USO will host more than 35 life-enhancing programs and services for troops, military families, caregivers, wounded, ill and injured troops as well as families of the fallen.
For more information about the USO and to find out how you can show your support, visit us online at http://www.uso.org. A complete list of 2014 USO Warrior and Family Care Programs and Services can be found online at http://www.uso.org/warriorandfamilycare/.
About the USO
The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.
In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, BNSF Railway, The Coca-Cola Company, Grand Canyon University, JCPenney, Jeep, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, Northrop Grumman Corporation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, BIC, The Boeing Company, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Procter & Gamble, TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG and Wawa Inc. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.