MILITARY FAMILY MONTH GIVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT LOCAL FAMILIES
YMCA OF GREATER ROCHESTER IS AN AFFILIATE OF THE ARMED SERVICES YMCA WHICH PROUDLY PROVIDES SERVICES AND RESOURCES TO UNITED STATES’ MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES.
For nearly 25 years, YMCAs across the country have celebrated Military Family Month, providing Americans the opportunity to recognize the dedication, sacrifice, and service of military personnel and their families. Throughout the year, the YMCA of Greater Rochester supports military families with programs and initiatives that improve their well-being and provide opportunities to connect with other families waiting at home.
“When servicemen and women are deployed, their families can experience great stress,” said Mike Stevens, Senior Vice President of Association Advancement, YMCA of Greater Rochester. “Whether it’s providing a place where kids can make friends and have a sense of belonging or providing a place for adults to meet health goals, the Y is here and able to help.”
First established by the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and recognized by the U.S. government ever since, Military Family Month recognizes the dedication and service of military personnel and their families.
MILITARY FAMILY MONTH TIPS
As a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the YMCA of Greater Rochester offers the following tips to help children of military families cope while loved ones serve overseas.
- Avoid the Countdown: Try not to focus on the expected homecoming date of a loved one serving overseas as these dates can change. Instead, emphasize how mom or dad will be home once the work is done.
- Give a Geography Lesson: Using maps and books to learn more about the place or region where the parent is stationed will empower children and provide some comfort.
- Family Ties that Bind: Help children stay connected during separation by building holiday care packages for the parent and taking advantage of services like United Through Reading that videotapes a parent reading their child’s favorite book or the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Kid Comfort program that provides a personally handcrafted quilt or pillow.
- Monitor the Media: News stories can scare or alarm children, keep an eye on their media exposure and be prepared to answer questions prompted by what they see and hear.
- Take Advantage of the Internet: Utilize Facebook, Skype and other chat services to keep in touch with the parent in real-time. This will let children know their parent is safe while providing important bonding time.
- Find Time for You: When a loved one is away, the remaining caregiver takes on the brunt the family responsibilities. This can be stressful, and many Ys offer free memberships through the Military Outreach Initiative and child care through the Respite Child Care program that provide additional support to keep the body and mind healthy.