Print Print

5: Child and Youth Serving Professionals

Learning ways to become and remain resilient is recognized as a key part of training to help service members perform effectively. Ensuring that military spouses and children are also taught the skills to help build their own resiliency is a good way to help military families effectively manage the stress of multiple deployments, as well as the basic challenges of military life.

“”

Child and youth professional are well positioned to help build resiliency skills. With simple changes, organizations that regularly serve children and teens can incorporate resiliency skills into their curriculum that will benefit not only military children, but civilian children as well.

Finding ways to identify the military children and teens in your organization can also help target communications, support, and resources. Child and youth professionals can strengthen the safety net by supporting the parent/caregiver and accepting any changes in their level of volunteerism or program involvement during a deployment.

Action Items:

  • Convene national youth-serving organizations such as 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc., The Boy Scouts, The Girl Scouts, and others to discuss the best ways to train their personnel and volunteers to work with military children and youth.

  • Identify successful programs that build positive youth development for military children and teens and replicate them in communities where they are needed.
  • Work with national youth organizations to adapt their curriculum, where necessary, to help build positive outcomes for military children and youth.

Resources:

The National Military Family Association created Toolkits for Military Kids and Teens to give the people in military kids’ lives a way to help them manage stress and affirm the positive aspects of military life. Visit www.militaryfamily.org/publications/deployment-family-research to download the toolkits.

The Military Family Research Institute, in collaboration with National Military Family Association, has created a series of informational brochures titled, How to Help Military Families. These guides provide practical tips and suggestions for helping your neighbors, friends and community members who have a military affiliation. Download the How You Can Help brochure.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Support has more than 350 military youth centers around the world; these are places where military teens can feel at home, no matter where that is. Visit www.bgca.org/partners/military for more information.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Military Youth Deployment Support Website works to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all military dependent infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Visit www.aap.org/sections/uniformedservices/deployment/index.html for more information.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, in conjunction with Families Overcoming Under Stress (FOCUS) and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services, have developed the Military Families Knowledge Bank which provides information and resources to help military families. To access the Knowledge Bank go to http://mfkb.nctsn.org/cwis/index.php.

The American Psychological Association has developed a series of brochures entitled, “Resilience in a Time of War.” The brochures discuss a variety of topics on how children cope with deployment and homecoming. To download the brochures go to www.apa.org/topics/military/index.aspx.

Coming Together Around Military Families has a training curriculum for professionals serving military families. It was developed by Zero to Three, a national nonprofit organization that informs, trains and supports professionals, policymakers and parents in the lives of infants and toddlers. For more information, go to www.zerotothree.org/about-us/funded-projects/military-families.

Military Community Youth Ministries is an ecumenical Christian ministry that reaches out to military teens. For more information on their programs and locations, go to www.mcym.org.

Courage to Care is an electronic health campaign for military and civilian professionals serving the military community, as well as for military men, women and families. To access the fact sheets go to www.usuhs.mil/psy/courage.html.

4-H Military Partnership has special programs for the development of military youth. Check out the services at www.4-hmilitarypartnerships.org.

Joint Services Support is a program of the National Guard Bureau. Open to all Guard, Reserve and Active Duty families - regardless of Service, JSS provides information on programs and services available in your community. For more information, go to www.jointservicessupport.org.