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6: RECOGNITION

We appreciate recognition of our family’s service.

Programs, praise, and bargain deals for military families have peppered the country—and teens have noticed. For example, Operation Purple® campers clearly understand the value of getting a free week of summer camp. It reminds them that someone cares about them and understands life is sometimes tough for military families. Of course they need to have a balance of tangible and intangible support. Here are some ways to do both:

“I am really thankful for everything you have done for me.”
  • Say thanks to the teen.
  • Fly your flag, wear a pin, or display a "support our troops" ribbon—then sustain it with actions. Yes, teens do notice.
  • Have class members interview and write an essay about a service member. Then share the stories with the entire class.
  • Write "thank you" notes to deployed troops.
  • Celebrate the Month of the Military Child in April, National Military Appreciation Month in May, and Military Family Appreciation Month in November.
  • Donate to a military charity in honor of a military family you know.
  • Ensure school counselors and mentors are aware of scholarships offered to military teens. The American Legion publishes a financial aid guide available through their website titled "Need a Lift," which lists many military child scholarship programs including the popular Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) program.
  • Support initiatives that provide better education, health care, and recreational activities for military teens.
  • Schools, places of worship, or doctor's offices can use empty wall space to recognize the deployed parents of military teens. Use photos or short stories to highlight them. It also serves as a constant reminder that there are men and women in uniform living in your neighborhood.

Resources:

  • America Supports You – A Department of Defense program that provides opportunities for citizens to show support for service members at www.americasupportsyou.mil.
  • USO – a nonprofit organization that provides morale, welfare and recreation activities for American troops, including care package stuffing parties for those deployed overseas at www.uso.org.
  • Veterans Affairs facility locator – Find your local VA facility for service activities or to plug your teen into a local support group for family members of combat veterans at http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isFlash=1
  • Let’s Say Thanks – pick and send a free postcard with a thank you message to troops overseas at www.letssaythanks.com.
  • “Need a Lift” is financial aid guide published by the American Legion and information to order a copy is available at www.legion.org/programs/resources/scholarships.