By Julene Reese
The children and youth of military families sacrifice much, including multiple relocations, having their parents deployed, uncertainty and more. To celebrate these young heroes, April is designated as the Month of the Military Child. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome. In Utah, April 23 was chosen as Purple Up! Day, set aside to honor and support children whose parents are in all military branches, at home and overseas.
Zuri Garcia, Utah’s 4-H military partnership liaison, said events are planned this month with the Hill Air Force Base Youth Center, Utah Air National Guard and others.
“Our partners will help connect us to these children and youth, and we look forward to celebrating them this month,” Garcia said. “We will also work to provide positive youth development opportunities for them year-round. The Utah 4-H program is pleased we have these partnerships to show our support for military-connected and 4-H youth. We encourage our 4-H members and all of Utah to participate in Purple Up! Day by wearing purple.”
Garcia said other ways to show support include:
· Make a thank you video for the military-connected youth in your family or community.
· Bake or buy a treat and drop it off with a note of gratitude.
· Contact a family member or friend in the service who has children. Let them know you’re thinking of them this month and invite them to share experiences.
· If you have a military base in your community, contact the child and youth services or family services department and offer support in some way this month.
“Recognizing our military-connected youth and their families helps them know that we see them,” Garcia said. “Whether they are frequently moving or have a family member absent from their home for a time, this is a great way for us to express gratitude for the sacrifices they make.”
Military-connected families can learn more about what 4-H has to offer at https://extension.usu.edu/utah4h/more/military/index.