The USO mission is to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families.” From providing entertainment to helping wounded soldiers, there are many ways the USO supports servicemembers and their families, raises their morale, and lets them know they are appreciated and remembered. Among the many programs and services that the USO offers are some that are specifically designed for military children. These programs and services deal with the issues that are unique to military children so they can better cope with their experiences and understand that they are not alone.
Here are three special USO programs that are available to military children. See each website for complete details and how your children can take part.
Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street gang have a longstanding history of tackling tough topics in kid-friendly ways. They continue this tradition in the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families. Consisting of two shows, “Katie’s Family Transitions to Civilian Life” and “Katie is Moving to a New Base,” the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families addresses the real-life concerns of military children whose families will be exiting the military and those who will be moving.
The two 30-minute live performance shows starring Elmo and other favorite Sesame Street characters are tailored for children ages 2-6 but are designed to be fun for the whole family. The shows use dancing, singing and age-appropriate language to help military children understand the changes in their lives. The worldwide tour started in May 2015 and new tour dates and base locations are continually being added to the tour schedule. Tickets are free.
Kids who grow up in military families have unique experiences and challenges. To help military children ages six through 18 cope with issues such as deployment, bullying, separation and reintegration, the Trevor Romain Company and the Comfort Crew for Military Kids have partnered to create the With You All The Way program. Performed by inspirational humorist Trevor Romain, the program teaches children real-life lessons in fun, innovative and engaging ways. The program also offers With You All The Way DVD deployment kits and special resources to the children of wounded or ill soldiers.
To learn more about this program, view this video:
Most military children have a parent who will be deployed at one time or another. This separation can be an extremely difficult experience for the child. United Through Reading is a program that helps foster the connection between military children and their deployed parent. The servicemember is recorded reading a children’s book and the video is then sent to the child. The child is recorded as he or she watches the video and then that video is sent to the soldier. This morale-building program encourages reading, helps ease the stress of separation, and reassures the child that their parent is safe.
Visit the United Through Reading website to find out how you or your family member can participate in this special program.