Our mission is to support National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty Service Members’ children living in our own backyards by increasing community awareness of issues faced before, during and after deployment through education; and by creating a network of services and resources available locally for affected military kids.
As the military deployments continue, it is becoming increasingly apparent that New York needs to reach out and support our Military Families of Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve.
New York State is home to three Active Duty Army installations – Ft. Drum, West Point, and Ft. Hamilton. Ft. Drum houses the 10th Mountain Division with 5 brigades (19,000 Soldiers) and is the most deployed Army Division in the country. In addition to the constant state of deployment at Ft. Drum, most Soldiers and their Families reside beyond the gates in communities that are often as far as 70 miles from the installation – away from the key Military Family supports.
Furthermore, there are over 15,000 geographically dispersed National Guard and Reserve Soldiers in New York State – living in our backyards, not on military installations. More often than not they live where they do not have easy access to an Active Duty installation. Compounding the deployment issues there are financial losses being incurred, military services not easily accessible, and schools not prepared for the “out of norm” student stressors (i.e., safety of a parent, parent unable to attend a special event). There is a general lack of community awareness and support, too much war dramatization by the media, and child care is not always available or does not meet the needs of the family. Consequently, NYS National Guard’s Adjutant General has identified the need to provide geographically dispersed Military Families with meaningful, comprehensive and effective family readiness and care before, during and after deployment.
Through the work of the NYS OMK State Team Partners: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Army and Army Reserve Child Youth & School Services programs, NY National Guard, the US Military Academy at West Point, Ft. Hamilton, and Ft. Drum Army Community Services programs, the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, Joint Forces Support Assistance Program (JFSAP) team, the National Association of Child Care Reference & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), and the Ft. Drum USO, NYS OMK implements the four core program support elements (Ready, Set Go! Training, Hero Packs, Speak Out for Military Kids, Mobile Technology Lab) of Operation: Military Kids. These elements prepare communities to effectively assist Military Families before, during and after deployment. We also provide babysitting courses, assist with Jr Deployment and Jr Reunion briefings, Yellow Ribbon events, and other events as requested.