4-H creates support network for Minnesota's 'Hidden Heroes'
Nearly 15,000 Minnesota children are affected by the military deployment of a loved one.
A member of the Minnesota National Guard reunites with loved ones in July at Camp Ripley in Little Falls.
When military parents living in civilian communities are mobilized, their children suddenly have unique needs for special support services," explains Jim Deidrick, Minnesota 4-H state military liaison. "These suddenly-military kids need to connect with other youth in similar situations. They seek friends and adults who can help them cope with their new world."
"Hidden Heroes: How Deployment Impacts 'Suddenly Military' Kids," is a free outreach training program geared toward community members. The programs were designed to offer insight into military culture and the deployment cycle and suggest ways to bring local community resources together to help military kids and their families.
This summer, the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development and the U.S. Army were part of a team that led 36 Operation Military Kids workshops throughout the state, from Roseau to Winona, to support these youth.
The workshops provided participants with strategies for creating local support networks of youth workers, educators, counselors and community-service agents throughout Minnesota.
Operation Military Kids is sponsored by Army Child and Youth Services in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral, American Legion, Minnesota Department of Education, and National Guard and Army Reserve.