With every spring comes the chance to recognize military children, as April is Month of the Military Child. It’s a time to honor military-connected youth for all their service, commitment and sacrifice that, ultimately, supports Service members’ missions.
This year’s theme is: Military Children and Youth: Standing Strong and Proud.
“It’s important to recognize these children,” said Kristen Acquah, Fort Belvoir School Liaison Officer with DFMWR.
“Military children should certainly be celebrated,” she said. “We want them all to know their efforts and ongoing resilience is a very important part of the military family,” she said. “They are integral to our sense of community.”
Acquah said military children’s social and emotional needs may be affected by frequent relocations and new schools; and often their parents’ training and deployment requirements. She added that some military youth are in particularly unique situations, when both parents serve in the military.
“These youth and teens are used to constant change in their lives,” she said. “And, maybe out of necessity, they are used to building friendships and doing what needs to be done to stay resilient and connected,” adding military children’s best qualities are courage and adaptability.
“They know what’s in front of them, especially high-schoolers. They typically step into their roles as mini-adults and support their families in some way – by taking out the garbage, helping with siblings, even with a smile when it’s needed,” Acquah said.
The school liaison officer suggest parents who are about to relocate contact their SLO as soon as possible. “We support parents so their needs can be addressed – often at a very busy time in their careers. We can connect you with resources
and let you know about the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.” The compact removes barriers that frequent relocations and deployments may have on military children and their education, including timely enrollment; records transfer; graduation requirements; scheduling, etc.
With pre-schoolers finishing up their time at the Child Development Centers, kindergarten readiness is very important … and is a milestone is many children’s and parents’ lives. The eldest students at CDCs are 5 and are due for elementary school tours in the coming weeks.
“It’s important that families and children see what the expectations may be for them to start school,” she said. “What does a school cafeteria look like? How are we expected to act in a school’s hallways. And, they’ll soon bridge to know who to trust at elementary school, like teachers and principals.”
MoMC upcoming events
Garrison representatives will visit with Child, Youth and School Services programs and Fort Belvoir Primary and Upper schools, and read to children. Parents should check with CDCs and schools for each class’ schedule.
Month of the Military Child Spirit Week
April 18, Red, white and Blue
April 19, Camo day
April 20, Purple Up Day, statewide
April 21, What’s your MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty
April 22, Wear RED Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed)
Belvoir Exchange salutes youngest heroes
Each Saturday in April, Fort Belvoir kids can celebrate Month of the Military Child with in-store activities, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 16 – 8 and older, Nerf Super, pick up a provided, Nerf Blaster from the toy department and practice their aim in a blaster-testing tent. Protective eyewear, Blasters and darts will be provided upon check-in.
April 23 - 4 and older, Disney Ultimate Princess Celebration. Play, construct a princess tiara, color and a photo booth. Participants can come dressed as their favorite Disney Princess and meet Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle and Snow White.
The Exchange gives away collectible, military “brat” patches, in stores, while supplies last.
A list of events at the exchange is available on Facebook at BelvoirExchange.