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Morning Sun
  • EXTENSION CONNECTION: Supporting military families in our communities

  • Many families in Kansas communities, as well as across the nation, have experienced the stain of lengthy wartime deployments.



    In Kansas, more than 33,000 children have a parent currently serving in the military, and these children live in small towns and rural areas as well as cities.

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  • Many families in Kansas communities, as well as across the nation, have experienced the stain of lengthy wartime deployments.
    In Kansas, more than 33,000 children have a parent currently serving in the military, and these children live in small towns and rural areas as well as cities.
    The military families in these communities have faced multiple and prolonged deployments. Many of these families, though thankful that their loved one is no longer deployed, must cope with the strain and negotiation of new roles that are part of reintegration.
    Reintegration is a process that requires time, understanding, and intentional efforts by each family member. This is not always easy. This is where individuals, neighborhoods, and whole communities can help.
    By providing military families with timely opportunities to acclimate, adjust, and discover a “new normal”,  community members can help strengthen the health and well-being for families.
    It seems the hardest part of providing support to military families is figuring out what to do.
    But in reality, military families are very much like other Kansas families.
    So consider what you might appreciate if a member of your family were away for long periods of time, such as military family members are while deployed.
    Families and individuals can make a difference simply by volunteering to watch a military family’s children for an evening, offering to mow the yard or rake leaves, or to provide transportation to youth activities or appointments. Support can even be as simple as offering to provide a meal or a sack of groceries.
    These simple acts can give parents time for themselves and let children know that other adults care.
    More broadly, community support can also include neighborhood cookouts and community programs organized specifically for military families.
    Community groups have a lot of power to help local military families.
    They can provide supplies to local military support groups, or teach other groups about deployment and military culture.
    Operation Military Kids (www.operationmilitarykids.org) provides many resources for ways to support military families. Hero Packs are backpacks provided with many activities and ways for children to stay connected to deployed parents.
    Military OneSource  (www.militaryonesource.com) also provides community and school ideas for providing additional support.
    K-State Research & Extension will provide an educational program, “From Awareness to Action: The Military Family in Our Communities” on Tuesday, January 29th  in Parson, Ks. for community  members to learn and discuss how to support the military families in our area.  
    This program will take place from 10:00 to 11 am at the Wesley United Methodist Church, 500 Leawood Drive and is open free to the public.
    No registration is necessary.
    For additional information, contact the Wildcat Extension District, Crawford County, 620-724-8233, Labette County, 620-784-5337, Montgomery County, 620-331-2690, Pittsburg Office, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP), 620-232-1930.
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