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A Home Away from Home

Celebrating the resilience of military children

Military children are resilient, and thanks to programming just for them, they can feel grounded and appreciated wherever they are. (Photo Courtesy USO)

May 2024

content courtesy of Statepoint

Life in the U.S. Armed Forces can be challenging, especially for the youngest members of the nation’s military community: the 1.6 million children of service members. From constant change and uncertainty, to being uprooted every few years and finding their place in a new school with each new location, to their service member parent deploying suddenly for months — or even years — at a time, these realities of military life can take a toll.

“Military children go through many experiences that most children don’t go through,” says military spouse and mother Jessica McLaughlin. “Having to leave their friends and everything they know to move across the world presents a different set of challenges.”

During May, which is Military Appreciation Month, the United Service Organizations are raising awareness about the specific challenges these so-called “military brats” face and are celebrating them to thank and support them for the invaluable role they play.

Military families can find year-round support and entertainment at many of the over 250 USO locations around the globe, where kid-friendly activities are designed to help them make friends with fellow military kids, or bond with their families. When stationed far from everything familiar, be that stateside or in distant locations overseas, these centers are home-away-from-home, where military kids are surrounded by a supportive community and other military children who understand the unique challenges they face.

Programs for military children, such as arts and crafts, game nights, cooking classes and scavenger hunts, are designed to offer a little fun so that they can forget, even briefly, the stress of life as a military child. Military families, on average, move every 2.5 years.

To learn more, visit uso.org.