April is the Month of the Military Child, a great time to reflect on the sacrifices kids make when one of their parents is deployed.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deploy; about half of them have experienced two or more deployments. During some of the most significant changes in a child’s life, military parents have missed milestones—in order to keep our country safe.
First words and baby steps; first days of school and graduations; proms and homecomings and heartbreaks; sports triumphs, science fairs, bedtime stories and driver’s tests—these and so many other big and little moments are fundamental to a child’s development. And yet, so many brave kids spend these moments without one of the most important people in their lives.
They are some of our most resilient kids, too! Military families move, on average, 10 times more than civilian families, meaning they might be in a new school every two to three years.
All of this takes its toll.
Military children, even the youngest, are at greater risk for behavioral challenges than civilian kids, and the added stress of worrying about their deployed parent can be emotionally exhausting. Moving so frequently may have an academic impact on kids, and cause feelings of isolation. Still, many military kids grow up to serve our country. Recent studies have shown that vast numbers of recruits in all branches of the American military have a close family member who served.
We know that staying in frequent touch with deployed service members can help put kids (and parents) at ease. At Cell Phones For Soldiers, we have a mission to keep families connected through our Minutes That Matter program. We have provided more than 300 million minutes of free talk time to the troops, thanks to the generosity of our donors.
You can help military children stay in touch with their deployed parents in two ways: Donate money to Cell Phones For Soldiers, or recycle your old cell phone, smartphone, tablet or MP3 player by sending it to us. Your donations send them a message: We support not just the troops serving our country, but their families as well.