Vermont Operation: Military Kids (VT OMK) continues to work toward educating the communities on the experiences and challenges of military life, its impact on families, and to provide positive opportunities for youth.
What is VT OMK?
When National Guard, Reserve, and other military parents living in civilian communities become mobilized, their children experience the stress of being a military kid. These “suddenly military” families and their children have unique needs for special support and services. Operation: Military Kids creates opportunities for kids to connect with other youth in similar situations. Through the organization they are given the opportunities and resources to seek friends and adults who can empathize and help them cope with their new world.
Vermont Operation: Military Kids is an outreach effort sponsored by ARMY Child and Youth Services in collaboration with University of Vermont Extension 4-H Youth Development, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The American Legion, Military Child Education Coalition along with other state and local organizations.
Goals of VT OMK are to continue:
- Collaborations with groups across the state to provide sustainable local support services to military youth before, during, and after their family members are deployed.
- Creating networks of support for the military children and connect them with other military and non-military youth through a variety of recreational, social and educational programs.
- Working to raise community awareness and foster understanding about the impact of the deployment cycle on the military member, family, child and larger community.
- Acting as resources for military children/families for things like summer camps, after school programs, youth councils, and more.
VT OMK Program Components:
Ready Set Go! – Trainings inform the community, educators, youth leaders, mentors, and instructors on the impacts of deployment, especially for the suddenly military and geographically dispersed service member, and the effects on kids across Vermont.
Hero Packs – created and assembled locally and given to the children of deploying service members of all branches to thank them for their service and sacrifice. Items connect the parent, the community, and the child to reinforce the importance of belonging, connection, and being a kid.
Speak Out For Military Kids (SOMK) – a speaker’s bureau of civilian and military kids across Vermont who examine the issue of deployment and develop a message to share with kids and adults about the impacts of deployment on kids, how they feel, and how they want to be treated. Teens create a public service announcement and speak to groups around the state.
Mobile Technology Lab (MTL) – a set of ten laptop computers, two printers, video cameras, digital cameras, advanced software and network capability that travels to places where military kids gather, keeping them connected, teaching them communication skills, and increasing their knowledge of technology.