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April is a time to show support for military children

FILE -- Marine Capt. Scott White picks up his son after returning home from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East with the 729th Air Control Squadron at Hill Air Force Base on Monday, April 29, 2019. Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — April is the “month of the military child.” And there are events and services this month to help support the many kids and teens in Utah who have a military family member.

“These children also serve,” said Utah’s 4-H military partnership liaison, Zuri Garcia. “Whether it be by working through a parent being gone, or needing to move around, they are being brave and courageous, too.”

This Friday, April 23 is “Purple Up Day” in Utah. It’s a day set aside to honor and support children whose parents are in all military branches, at home and overseas.

Garcia says people can wear purple that day, or do other things to celebrate those children.

And the community can show their support by reaching out to a neighbor or a family at school or church, and see what they need.

“Figure out who in our community, and who in our schools are connected to the military. We can decorate our doors, so anyone driving by can see we are ‘purpling up’ for you, we see you,” she said.

People can also make thank you videos or notes. They can bake or buy a treat to drop off. Contact a family member or friend in the service who has children, and let them talk or share their experiences. Neighbors can also contact the family services department or child and youth services at a nearby military base and see if they would like some help.

Garcia and the USU extension have helped plan some events and activities throughout the month, like at the youth center at Hill Air Force Base Youth Center, and a drive-through at the Utah Air National Guard Base.

“We have a cute little mini-garden kit, to give them the opportunity to learn individually or as a family. And to let us let them know we see them and we celebrate them,” she said.

She works with Camp Williams, Dugway Proving Ground, Hill Air Force Base and others to create STEM clubs for the youth, too.

“Recognizing our military-connected youth and their families helps them know that we see them,” Garcia said. “Whether they are frequently moving or have a family member absent from their home for a time, this is a great way for us to express gratitude for the sacrifices they make.”

Military-connected families can learn more about what 4-H has to offer at https://extension.usu.edu/utah4h/more/military/index.

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