JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- During the Month of the Military Child in April, the Department of Defense (DoD) is celebrating the resilience of America's military kids. As the only DoD initiative designed to support military children ages 6 to 17 through the challenges of military life, the Military Kids Connect® program is launching a #ProudToBeaMilKid campaign on social media — in which military children are encouraged to share what makes their experiences special and age-appropriate resources are highlighted.
"This month is an important time to recognize the importance military kids play in our community. The daily lives of military kids include going to school, spending time with friends and helping at home. They do this amidst the changing military life where they move frequently, experience a parent's deployment or are coping with a parents' injury," said Kelly Blasko, counseling psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology. "Military Kids Connect offers resources for them to stay positive and strong. We're launching the #ProudToBeaMilKid campaign to celebrate their courage and determination."
The social media campaign — which will be featured on the Military Kids Connect Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages — lets kids choose a bold, fun graphic that matches their family's branch of service and then share it with the hashtag #ProudToBeaMilKid and a message of pride.
Military kids can also connect with each other in a safe online environment on the program's website. The site offers three portals — for kids ages 6 to 8, tweens ages 9 to 12 and teens ages 13 to 17 — that include tailored resources and activities designed for each age group. For example, the kids and tweens portals include the interactive map activity, Where Are You Going? where visitors can discover the customs, geography and games of deployment locations around the world. The tweens and teens portals cover tougher topics, such as coping with grief and parents' combat injuries. Each portal features videos of children, families and parents sharing their personal stories about dealing with deployments. The Military Kids Connect YouTube page, also features the stories of real military kids sharing their advice and experiences dealing with the challenges of military life.
According to 2015 DoD data, over 41 percent of all military members have children — bringing this population to more than 1.7 million military kids worldwide. Parents, caregivers and educators can access free resources from Military Kids Connect to help them better understand and support military kids at home and in school.
"Military Kids Connect is designed for all military kids out there," said Blasko. "That's really what this program is about — connecting military kids with role models who overcame similar challenges, so that they can learn from their example. Together, we can really make a difference in these children's lives."