California is home to approximately 170,000 military youth, the highest presence of military youth in the United States. It is essential that we connect national, state, and local community partner programs to help serve military youth and their families. California is one of 54 land grant cooperative university extension systems that support military child and youth programs worldwide. Operation: Military Kids (OMK) of California is dedicated to provide as many opportunities available to military youth and their families through six different OMK Core Projects.
OMK of California works with community partners to make hero packs (back packs filled with school supplies and other goodies) and to distribute them throughout the California military family population. The Hero Packs project is a wonderful community service project, and anyone is welcome to be a part of it.
Speak Out For Military Kids
Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK) is a youth-led, adult-supported project that generates community awareness of issues and concerns faced by military youth. The CA 4-H Military Partnership/Operation: Military Kids holds many different statewide SOMK opportunities each year for military and community youth. Many great projects have been produced from SOMK including videos, presentations, posters, brouchures, and much more. Additional SOMK events might be held my OMK community partners throughout the year.
Joint Family Support Assistance Program (JFSAP)
The Office of the Secretary of Defense funded the placement of a Youth Development Program Specialist at the California Joint Headquarters office to increase collaborations with OMK and JFSAP teams, community, and military partners. JFSAP provides information, referrals, counseling, and other support services to military families. Partnering with JFSAP, California 4-H youth specialists present educational programs for pre-deployment/ deployment/reunion events, along with camping programs for military youth.