April is the Month of the Military Child and events on Fort Leonard Wood are scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Friday with the Mad Hatter Parade and Balloon Launch in front of the Child Development Center.

This event is the first of many designed to celebrate military children in April. The month is also Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"Child Abuse Prevention Month is particularly important because it's a social responsibility for our entire community to make sure our children are safe and their well-being is protected," said Wayne Bardell, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director. "Child Abuse Prevention is everyone's responsibility."

FMWR is sponsoring several events and programs during the month to honor military children, highlight parenting resources and help prevent abuse.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday the Child Development Center will host its annual Community Fun Fair. While providing games and activities for children, the event will also provide parents with information about child development and parenting skills.

Army Community Service also provides resources for parents, including parenting classes, finance classes and play groups. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 8, ACS is sponsoring a Seven Habits of a 24-7 Dad class. This class is designed to help dads identify the role they want to play in their children's lives. The class will be at ACS, and interested fathers need to register before April 6 by calling 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.

Story contest
ARMY MWR is sponsoring a story contest for the month of April.

"Military children have unique lives and experiences like no other their age," said Megan O'Donoghue, Services and Support Division director. "Army MWR is giving them a chance to showcase those experiences with the 'Young Lives, Big Stories' contest."

The contest will provide children with the opportunity to tell their story through drawings, photos, videos or words for a chance to win prizes.

"The 'Young Lives, Big Stories' contest is open to all military children preschool through 12th grade. Youth participants will (be able to) tell their story on 'what it means to be a military child.' The goal is to tell the Army's story through the eyes of our children," O'Donoghue said.

For more information or to participate, visit www.armymwr.com/momc.

Other MOMC events scheduled for April include: an Easter Egg Hunt, PT in the Woods and programs at the Bruce C. Clarke Library. Events are listed in the What's Up Section on Page B3 or you can visit www.leonardwood.armymwr.com for more information. Watch the GUIDON in April for photos of various MOMC events.