The Marine Corps joins the nation in dedicating the month of April as Month of the Military Child. The theme for 2020, “Stand up for Kids,” emphasizes the power of a safe, caring adult in the life of every child. According to the Department of Defense, there are approximately 118,000 Marine Corps children dependents.
While most events have been postponed due to COVID-19, bases and communities will continue to honor Month of the Military Child where possible and emphasize the important role children play in the Marine Corps and local communities. Marine Corps Community Services has created special space on its website (https://usmc-mccs.org/articles/month-of-the-military-child-2020/) that will provide a weekly calendar of ideas for daily activities at home.
“This month, and every month, celebrates our military-connected students around the world,” said Thomas Brady, DODEA director. “Many of our students understand what it means to have their mom, dad or in some cases both parents deployed far from home. I am deeply thankful to all military children for their courage and resilience in the face of adversity. The current situation with COVID-19 has presented new challenges, but to nobody’s surprise, our military children are handling every change with confidence and grace. We also honor their parents for instilling and fostering such outstanding values in their children. I am very proud of our students, and together we celebrate them during this Month of the Military Child.”
“Every military child deserves to be recognized, because of the sacrifice that they were born into. A military child is supportive of their military parent even when they sacrifice their time that could be spent developing a stronger relationship. Military children are faced with hardships that can be challenging growing up, however the experience teaches them to be resilient because a military child blooms where they are planted.” Sgt. Janelle Turnowicz, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 472
The observance month is sponsored by the DoDEA and supported by the Military Community and Family Policy, National PTA, Military OneSource, many other organizations, and local schools and communities. Established by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986, military children are honored for their sacrifices and experiences brought on by military life. One event includes “Purple Up!,” which encourages supporting communities to wear the color purple to symbolize the mixture of Air Force blue, Army green, Navy blue, Coast Guard blue and Marine Corps red.
On Marine Corps installations, service members can access parenting tools such as the New Parent Support Program (https://usmc-mccs.org/services/family/new-parent-support-program/) or Marine Corp Family Team Building (https://usmc-mccs.org/services/family/marine-corps-family-team-building/). Other parenting tools through Military OneSource (https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/parenting-and-children/parenting-and-children-resources) include parenting classes for infants and toddlers, youth and teens, parenting through deployment, childcare and even deployment.
Sgt. Janelle Turnowicz, Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, used military parenting resources such as the Baby Boot Camp and monthly classes offered at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. She and her husband, Staff Sgt. Clayton Turnowicz and their two sons experience the challenges of being a dual-military household, but are thankful for the pride, experiences, travel opportunities, people and livelihood the Marine Corps has brought to their family.
Recognizing the challenges faced by Marine Corps children should be acknowledged year-round, it is the responsibility of all Marines to stay educated and do their part to celebrate military children and ensure the proper treatment of children within their communities. MARADMIN 090/20 provides more details regarding Month of the Military Child.
For more information, contact your local installation FAP, New Parent Support Program, or Community Counseling Program. Help is also available at the Department of Defense Child Safety Hotline at 1-877-790-1197, Marine Corps DSTRESS Line at 1-877-476-7734, and Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.com or 1-800-342-9647.