Every April, we recognize the strength and resilience of military youth by celebrating Month of the Military Child. Established in 1986 by former U.S. Defense Secretary, Casper Weinberger, Month of the Military Child gives us an opportunity to honor and appreciate military-connected families and raise awareness about their unique strengths, challenges, and needs:
- Nearly 2 million American children currently have a parent serving in the military
- More than 900,000 children have experienced a parent deploy multiple times
- On average, military youth move between six and nine times before high school graduation, creating academic and social barriers.
We know positive youth development is key, which is why Clubs give every young person a safe, fun place to learn and grow. As our Military Youth of the Year Ryan W. says, “The best thing for me has been going to a Boys & Girls Clubs affiliated Youth Center wherever we were stationed. It has helped me meet other kids who have similar interests and experiences, and has been one of the few constants in my life.”
We care about military kids
, which is why we’ve partnered with the U.S. Armed Services for nearly 30 years to ensure military youth are supported, resilient, and ready for great futures, no matter what life throws at them. Every year, Clubs serve 532,000 youth worldwide in 492 BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations across the globe.
We’ve convened experts
from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to examine challenges facing military youth and identify measures we can take together
to help these kids reach their full potential. Partnerships with industry thought leaders, including Raytheon
, and The Coca-Cola Company
, ensure our military kids have the tools and supports they need -- from social and emotional skill competencies that will build grit and resilience, to cutting edge technologies and hands-on programs that inspire them to dream big.
This April, through our partnership with Raytheon
, we're opening the 17th STEM Center of Innovation
, which provides military youth with access to advanced technologies, including 3-D printers, robotics and high-definition video production equipment, and a fully dedicated STEM educator providing innovative programming that offers real-world applications and experiences. The STEM Centers enable military-connected youth to develop 21st century skills that are critical to filling the estimated nine million jobs created in STEM-related fields by 2022 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics
), and delivers on Boys & Girls Clubs workforce readiness initiative to ensure kids are prepared for life after high school graduation.
The Boys & Girls Club experience
and programs, like Military Youth of the Year
, teen engagement initiatives
and STEM Centers of Innovation, gives youth access to opportunities that equip them for success in college and career, no matter where military life takes them.
We’re committed to great futures for military youth. Here’s how you can help:
- Honor the stories of military youth. Visit bgca.org/military to learn more about what it means to grow up Military Strong and the challenges of being a military kid.
- PurpleUp! On April 25, join Boys & Girls Clubs in celebrating PurpleUp Day and show you support for military kids by wearing purple.
- Spread the word. Boys & Girls Clubs of America is offering no cost memberships to kids of National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty families residing off installations.