When members of the armed forces deploy to serve their country, their family members – and especially children – also make sacrifices. In recognition of these sacrifices, the American Red Cross, Colorado National Guard and Colorado Operation: Military Kids (OMK) joined forces in April to draw attention to the estimated 35,000 school-age kids who are part of military families in Colorado.
April is designated as the “Month of the Military Child” and the Red Cross and its partners honored military children with several activities.
On Friday, April 12, Red Cross employees, volunteers and supporters donned to show their support for the thousands of youth whose lives are affected by a family member’s sacrifice and service to the country through the U.S. armed forces.
The 2nd annual “Purple Up! For Military Kids” celebration was sponsored by Colorado Operation: Military Kids (OMK), part of the 4-H Youth Development program of CSU Extension.
OMK encouraged everyone across the state of Colorado to wear purple on Friday, April 12, as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.
The Red Cross also co-sponsored an essay contest in partnership with the Colorado National Guard Youth Program. The contest, open to kindergarten through 12th grade students in Colorado, challenged participants write an essay on the topic of “What being a Military Child means to me” (K-6th grade) or “Does Patriotism Still Matter?” (7th-12th grade).
The contest ran April 1- May 3. During an upcoming awards ceremony, the Red Cross will award $20 gift card prizes to winners in 7 grade categories, as well as a Nintendo Wii to one grand-prize essay winner.
The Red Cross is supported these activities as part of its Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program. Although best known for its disaster response, the Red Cross in fact has a long history of serving members of the armed forces through every war of the 20th century and continuing today. Red Cross SAF programs include pre- and post-deployment briefings for members of the military; emergency communications between deployed military and their families back home; support for military families while their loved ones are deployed; and assistance at veterans and military hospitals.
Read more about Red Cross SAF programs.