COUNT OUR KIDS Initiative to Self Identify Children connected to the military within School Systems
MCCG’s first initiative to bring awareness and support by educating schools, healthcare and children’s organizations, urging them to include a self-identifier on their enrollment forms in order to know what child is connected to the military, what stage of military life they were experiencing and offering Home front support.
In 2012 MCGG and the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) collaborated to create a new student identifier on student enrollment and emergency forms. To build a support system once identified, OCDE developed an internal “Military Liaison” who is familiar with military life as a point of contact for each school district, to assist school administration, teachers, students and their families when challenging situations occur. In addition, MCCG created a resource guidebook for distribution within the OCDE’s 27 school districts as well as other Southern California school districts.
Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest district in the country by student enrollment, began rolling out their self-identifier student forms in 2014.
San Diego Unified School District currently has a self-identifier student form for Active Duty and Dept. of Defense for receiving Federal Grant funding. However, MCCG raised awareness and sought support for the needs of students connected to Veterans and Fallen as well. MCCG and SDUSD are currently collaborating on methods of support for the schools.
Our goal is to expand COUNT OUR KIDS program into other school districts in surrounding regions.
In the Spring 2017, MCCG will offer “How to Support Military Kids in your School” webinar for schools. Offering schools a better understanding of what a child connected to the military maces on the Homefront and the how that can impact a child’s social and academic performance.
SALUTE THE KIDS Program
To raise awareness, recognize the children connected to the military in the schools for silently serving our country. MCCG and Orange County Department of Education together created a SALUTE THE KIDS toolkit materials are designed for school principals to plan, recognize the students that are military connected presenting a personalized “Recognition for Silently Serving our Country” certificate.
Enlisting the support of Southern California city and county governments to proclaim April the Month of the Military Child
MCCG followed the lead of the White House’s 1986 initiative proclaiming “April the Month of the Military Child” that many states and cities have since adopted. MCCG is working with the state and local cities to join in adopting proclamation efforts. MCCG worked with the Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Veteran office to proclaim the month of April the Month of the Military Child. In April 2014 the proclamation ceremony included Los Angeles and other local government officials, USC Veteran Collaborative Group, Veteran groups and other stakeholders. Children connected to the military and their families gathered as government officials presented their Proclamations to each child in the audience thanking them for their service to our Country.
In April 2015 MCCG, the Orange County Veterans Collaborative family and the Orange County Board of Supervisors co-hosted a Proclamation ceremony. Assemblywoman Young O. Kim, representatives from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Assemblyman Donald L. Wagner, Department of Equalization, Orange County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Anaheim Council presented their Office’s Proclamations. Guest speakers 8 – 12 years old shared their unique stories of separation due to training, deployments, homecomings and transitions.
April 2015, MCCG and the San Diego Military Families Collaborative co-hosted the San Diego City Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s event proclaiming April the Month of the Military Child, that the public was invited to attend.
April 2016, The Los Alamitos Joint Training Base hosted the MCCG and Orange County Veteran Family and Children’s Group proclaiming “April the Month of the Military Child”proclamation ceremony. The ceremony brings together the community, Federal, state officials, government agencies, community partners,nonprofits, child advocates and military families. The ceremony included Deputy Secretary Minority Veterans Affairs Ricardo Reyes presenting a Commemorative letter from California Governor Jerry Brown, Assemblywoman Kim Young and Senator Janet Nguyen together presenting a California Statewide Legislate Assembly Resolution for April the Month of the Military Child. MCCG organized the Children Keynote Speakers. The children shared their personal experiences and inspiring stories being military connected. The ceremony included the military Command recognizing each child.
Counties have continued and expanded their Annual Month of the Military Child event.
SUPPORT THE KIDS
Partnering with others
In 2013, MCCG began co-hosting events with Wives of War (WOW) a support group for spouses with loved ones diagnosed with Post Traumatic Depression Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury and the wounded. MCCG engages the WOW support group’s children through a day event learning about science, art, and music or real life lessons.
In 2016, the University of Pittsburgh(PITT) requested MCCG to become a partner in creating a Military Teen APP. MCCG created a Military Teen APP Workshop in Southern California gathering 18 Teens connected to the military. Specially selected Teens shared their experiences and provided ideas of how the APP should be used. MCCG as a PITT team member we are assisting in the development of this new APP. Look for the Military Teen APP launch in May 2017.
In 2014 MCCG began working on building awareness and support through the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America (OCCBSA), and organization with 21,000 Scouts. MCCG provided a blueprint draft, sharing ways for Scout Leaders and Scouts can support military kids and their families in their local community. The program includes a webinar for Scout Leaders, “How to Support Military Connected Kids”and Scout earning patch program, available on the Orange County Council Boy Scout of America website. The “Proud to Support Military Kids” Scout earning patch program offers a variety of ways to support children connected to the military in Scouting, and ways of supporting military families in their community. The patch program is now growing outside of Orange County. May 13, 2017 we have a Booth at the Orange County Council Scout O Rama.
Future initiatives are now a reality
Challenge coins are a rich tradition in the Military, signifying membership to a group, organization or unit. Awarding a military connected child with their very own challenge coin would be meaningful way to give recognition and thank children for their service to our country. The coin can be awarded to military children in a school assembly, high achievement award or upon enrollment in a new school or community to make the child feel welcomed.
In 2016, MCCG presented our Military Children’s Courage coin to over 300 children. MCCG is now expanding this program with others wanting to recognize military connected children.