Speak Out for Military Kids is OMK’s youth-driven community outreach program. Through participation in SOMK, military and non-military youth help generate community awareness of issues faced by military youth when a parent is in the deployment cycle. SOMK provides youth participants with the opportunity to gain valuable leadership, research, organization, technology, public speaking and presentation skills. Youth use these skills to foster activism in supporting military youth in their communities.
- Raise community awareness of issues faced by geographically dispersed military children and youth
Speak Out for Military Kids in Action:
- Two Minnesota three-day SOMK trainings engaged kids of Service Members in learning to share their personal stories with others. Using a variety of media, youth developed creative and informative public presentations about how deployment has affected them and how they are coping with the deployment of their family member. With their new public speaking skills and confidence, the 47 youth participants then shared their stories with 4-H clubs, school classes, administrators and civic groups in their communities and across the state.
- Wisconsin SOMK joined Wisconsin Public Television’s “Teen Connection,” an hour-long, live, call-in television series that gives teens a voice and allows them to connect with other teens around the state and share their experiences. The Military Kids program featured a panel of SOMK teen guests who shared their personal experiences with deployment. Teens from all across the state called a toll-free number to add a question or comment to the live broadcast or to speak confidentially with one of the counselors answering the phones. The show can be viewed at www.wpt.org/teenconnection.
- Iowa’s Speak Out for Military Kids youth created Deployment: It’s Not a Game to increase awareness about the deployment cycle. As players move through the game, it serves as a tool to get them thinking and talking about the impact of deployment on military kids and Families. Players are encourage to identify issues military kids face during deployment, to reflect on how they might act in similar situations and to discuss how their school, community or organization might develop a plan to support military kids and families experience deployment.
- Kansas Speak Out for Military Kids used improvisation and the production of an original play to help youth learn ways to express their thoughts and emotions by developing Speak Out for Military Kids – Interactive Theatre (SOMK-IT). SOMK-IT can be a full theatrical production, part of an after school project or the focus of summer camp. SOMK-IT provides an opportunity for youth and adults to work together to help others understand the military family experience throughout the deployment cycle.