Children from the post's child development centers and and parents participate in last year's Month of the Military Child parade here. This year's parade is April 2 at 10 a.m. in front of the three CDCs.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- The "Month of the Military Child" begins April 1. This year's theme, developed by the Army Teen Panel, is "Military Kids: Heroes for the Future."

More than 1.7 million children have at least one parent serving in the military. An estimated 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times over the last 10 years.

However, many child development and mental health experts believe military children may need support now, more than ever. Many are now dealing with a new reality; often added to their burden is adjustment to a parent who's returned home with severe wounds, post-traumatic stress, or other medical issues.

"In many cases, the simple fact that mom or dad is now home, and the family dynamic has changed, can have a big impact in a child's life," Turner said.

Taking a moment to thank military kids for their service, and the sacrifices they've made during 10 years of conflict, Turner said, is a simple way to remind everyone that as resilient as they've proven to be, our military children still need our support.

Fort Sill has so many events planned to celebrate military children that it was too much to put into one article. Here are some of the activities planned for the second part of April.

The CG's Challenge Run/Walk is April 13 at 1 p.m. at Polo Field. The theme is "Get Out, Get Fit" and families are encouraged to walk the route together. The walk/run is one of the programs Fort Sill implemented as a member of the FitKids Coalition.

April 17 the special playgroup will groove to the music from 9:30-10:30 a.m. with a baby disco at the School Age Center.

Parents can find out what's really happening when their kids go over to a friends to "hang out" April 17 at one of the Reality Parties in Building 2870 Craig Road. Underage drinking is a scary reality. Join Army Community Service and partners Lawton Wichita Mountains Prevention Network for one of the parent tours of reality parties that will open your eyes to what is really going on and the dangers you should know about. The performers at the party are students at the School of Arts and Sciences. There will be a question and answer portion after the tour and subject matter experts will be on hand to answer any questions. Become aware and join the campaign to keep kids happy, healthy and safe. Times for the tours are 3:30-4:30 p.m.; 4:45-5:45 p.m.; and 6-7 p.m. The tours are free but you must get a ticket to reserve your space. Space is limited so reserve your tickets now.

The School Age Center Parent Child MoMC breakfast is April 18 from 7:30-8 a.m. at the center. RSVP by signing up at the center or call 442-2844. Look for the menu to be posted at the School Age Center.

Children in grades 3-6 are invited to read and discuss literature with others April 18 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Nye Library's Kid's Book Club. They will be discussing the "Dear America," series. Join the library staff for a fun discussion, activity, and craft. Club size limited to 15 so please sign up at the circulation desk.

Sing, dance and join the adventure of the puppets as they learn lessons, play with friends and meet new people and animals April 20 beginning at 11 a.m. with Nye Library's Puppet Show "The Mysterious Egg." For information on all Nye Library events, call 442-2048.

The Teen versus Staff Basketball Game is April 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the Honeycutt Fitness Center. Rumble, the mascot for the Oklahoma City Thunder will make a special guest appearance. Teens must be registered with CYSS to participate in the game but everyone is invited to attend. Teens playing must meet at the Youth Center by 6:30 p.m. Call 442-6745 for more details.

The MoMC Youth Center open house and cookout is April 21 at 3 p.m. Youth, in sixth-12th grade, are encouraged to attend with their parents. Meet staff, tour the facility, view the new facility, eat and learn about the Youth Center activities.

The CDC's will host a scholastic book fairApril 23-27 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The book fair is open to all. Don't miss out on a great opportunity to purchase books for the family. For more information, call 558-5735 or 442-5734.

April 24 the special playgroup will play from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Co-Op Park, next to Martha Songbird Park. For more information about this event, call 442-3279.

The MoMC fashion showis April 26 at 7 p.m. at the SAC. Registered children are encouraged to participate in modeling their best clothing on the runway for this annual Fashion Show. Everyone is welcome to attend to watch as the kids' parade the fashions on the runway. For information on SAC events, call 442-2844.

If you love dogs and love to read, join Nye Library for the Reading with Jake and Friends group April 28 at 1 p.m. The intent is to work together to introduce kids to dogs and teach them a little bit about how dogs can help people -- even when it comes to reading. The Reading with Jake and Friends group will join the group for a few stories. Stick around for the craft after the story. Feel free to ask questions of the dog handlers about what they do and how their dogs help kids and other people.

Nye Library invites all eligible children to read for rewards during the MoMC. Children age birth to preschool can receive a prize for every five books they check out and read. For children who cannot read, parents may read to them. Children, in kindergarten through 2nd grade can receive a prize for every three books they check out and read. Children in grades 3-6 can receive a prize for every two books they checkout and read. Young adults, ages 13-18 years old, may receive a prize for every one book they check out and read. Books must be reading- level appropriate. Only books checked out from Nye Library are eligible for this program. Those interested in participating in the scavenger hunt can sign-up at the circulation desk and pick up reading logs and the rules. For more information, call 442-3806.

The MoMC creates awareness of the service and sacrifices of our military's children. It is an opportunity to thank children for their support to our nation's war fighters, and recognize the important role they play in the strength of our nation by contributing to the strength of the Army Family.

"The Army recognizes and appreciates the sacrifices our children make daily, and is committed to maintaining excellence in schools, youth services and child care to support our children and their families," said Turner.

Page last updated Mon April 2nd, 2012 at 17:53