South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary

 

Children & Youth

Jeannine Loesch

Department 2nd Vice President

Children and Youth Chairman (2016-2017)

Home: 605-224-4512

Email: dakotabarbers@qwestoffice.net

Thank you for accepting the role of Children and Youth Chairman for your Unit.  This is a very exciting and rewarding program!  The Children & Youth Program emphasizes protecting, caring for and supporting children and youth, particularly those of veterans’ and military families.  Included in this plan are several ideas how to promote this program in your unit, family and community.  The National Plan of Action for 2016-2017 is available online at www.alafor veterans.org.

 

What can you do?

1.       “Star Spangled Kids”: Educate children and youth on the history of the United States from the aspect of patriotism, Americanism and the U.S. Constitution.

Ideas:

Unit:

 • Create a Unit Citizenship Award for children and youth who have learned the ideals of the US Constitution.

• Share a constitutional fact each month in the unit newsletter, the newspaper editorial and /or in tweets.

·Schedule Auxiliary events on dates that are important in the history of the                                                                                                                                         United States and the U.S. Constitution to raise awareness of our founding           documents.

 • September 17 is Constitution Day (Citizenship Day). Host a party that revolves around the Constitution for children.

 • Print and distribute Pocket Constitutions to schoolchildren.

  See the How to sheet at the end of this Plan for more information.

·        Encourage high school -aged students to use their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution by participating in The American Legion Oratorical Contest.

 

Member

·        Dress up like signers of the Constitution, and put on a skit about writing/signing the Constitution.

·        Accompany veterans and service members as they share with students how their military service was meaningful in defending the Constitution.

·        Encourage high school -aged students to use their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution by participating in The American Legion Oratorical Contest.

·        See the How to sheet at the end of this Plan for more information.

 

 

2.      Protect, care for and support military children and youth.

 Ideas:

Unit:

·        Plan a unit-hosted dinner, game night, community fair, etc. that will bring military and non-military families together.

·        Assemble kids’ or family hero packs at Junior meetings and/or ALA Girls State sessions to give to military kids and families.

·        Host a "Kids of Deployed Are Heroes 2" (KDH2) program with recognition buttons to let military kids know we appreciate their sacrifice too. See the How to sheet at the end of this Plan for more information.

·        Support Operation Military Kids-OMK supports military children and youth through community awareness and outreach support services.

·        Support G.I. Josh – Identify military children who may have a parent or sibling deploying. G.I. Josh, a plush dog, and the accompanying storybook will help the child through separation and deployment of their loved one.

·        Purchase the book, Klinger, a Story of Honor and Hope, from TAPS with the companion plush horse for children who are grieving the loss of a military parent or loved one.

·        Team up with other community groups that are also concerned with the special needs of military children (i.e. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Give an Hour, Military Parents, Guard/Reserve Family Readiness Group representatives, etc.).

Member

·        Help identify homeless veterans’ children who could benefit from assistance.

·        Bring a veteran’s child to a unit event to honor and recognize him/her.

 

3.      Protect, care for and support veterans’ children and youth.

Ideas

Unit:

 

·        Increase community support and awareness of veterans’ children.

·        Host events for children of veterans.

·        Work with your post to identify the specific needs of children of veterans.

·        Share information and ideas on the unit’s website, social media pages and newsletters to help children of veterans.

Member

·        Help identify homeless veterans’ children who could benefit from assistance.

·        Bring a veteran’s child to a unit event to honor and recognize him/her.

·        Share information and ideas on the unit’s website, social media pages and newsletters to help children of veterans.

 

 

4. Protect, care for and support all children and youth in the community.

 Ideas:

Unit

 • Purchase and distribute G.I. Josh Dogs — Identify children who may be facing surgery. Help ease their fears by presenting them with a G.I. Josh Dog and the accompanying storybook.

• Provide safe activities for the community's children and youth, such as a Christmas party, Easter egg hunt or Trick-or-Treat.

• Host a picnic, baseball game or activity day so children can become acquainted with playmates their own age.

• Nominate a child for the Youth Hero Award – Recognize youth who demonstrate a heroic act of physical valor. Coordinate with the Public Relations and Membership chairmen.

• Nominate a child for the Good Deed Award – Recognize youth who are great examples of community service in action. Coordinate with the Public Relations and Membership chairmen.

 

 Member

• Support children encountering special challenges who could benefit from assistance.

• Watch the newspapers and neighborhoods for children and youth who have performed acts of heroism or good deeds worthy of recognition with a Good Deed Award or Youth Hero Award.

• Approach teachers in local schools to discover and assist with the needs of kids in the community.

 

Programs and Activities

1. Youth Hero Award – A national award for youth under 18 years of age who perform a heroic act of physical valor. The Youth Hero & Good Deed Award Nomination Form is to be completed and mailed to your department secretary, who certifies and mails the application to National Headquarters. (Please do not mail applications directly to National Headquarters.) The award certificate, signed by the national president, will then be returned, along with a Youth Hero Award medal, to the unit to be presented on behalf of the national organization. The department Children & Youth chairman should be notified of the award. Coordinate your efforts with your department’s Public Relations and Membership chairmen.

 

2. Good Deed Award – A national award for youth under 18 years of age who do not meet the Youth Hero Award criteria, but who are great examples of community service in action. The Youth Hero & Good Deed Award Nomination Form is to be completed and mailed to the department secretary, who certifies and mails the application to National Headquarters. (Please do not mail applications directly to National Headquarters.) The award certificate, signed by the national president, will then be returned to the unit to be presented on behalf of the national organization. The department Children & Youth chairman should be notified of the award. Coordinate with your department’s Public Relations and Membership chairmen.

 3. April is Children & Youth Month – During the month of April, The American Legion Family emphasizes its commitment to our nation’s children. Search “April Children” at www.legion.org for a list of all brochures that are available.  

 

Children & Youth Reporting

As part of your narrative report, please include answers to the following questions:

• How did your units and department promote “Star Spangled Kids,” educating children and youth about the U.S. Constitution from the aspect of patriotism and Americanism?

• How did your units and department promote the "Kids of Deployed Are Heroes 2" (KDH2) program?

• What success stories do you have regarding support for military and veterans’ children?

Mid-Year Reports

Narrative reports are due from the unit chairman to their district president by November 15th; and from the District President to the department Children and Youth Chairman, Jeannine Loesch by December 1st.  The Children & Youth chairman is required to submit a narrative report by December 15th to the division Children & Youth chairman, and a copy to the national Children & Youth chairman.

 

Annual Reports

Narrative reports are due from the unit chairman to their district president by April 15th; and from the district president to the department Children & Your chairman, Jeannine Loesch by May 1st.  Each department Children and Youth chairman is required is to submit a narrative report by May 15th to the division Children & Youth chairman, and a copy to the national Children &Youth chairman.

Children & Youth Awards

NOTE: Please be sure to make arrangements for the return of materials in advance.

Please be sure to note if the narrative you submit for the department award is also to be used as your department year-end report. If so, also send a copy to the national C&Y chairman.

 Million Member Award

Type of Award: Citation Plaque

 Presented to: One unit in each division (5 overall awards)

Materials and Guidelines:

·        Entries must include the award cover sheet located in this Plan.

·        Entries must be typewritten and include the following information:

·        Demonstrate how working the mission of the Children & Youth Program engaged, retained and attracted members to grow membership.

·        Please include pictures, clippings, scrapbooks, folders, etc., either electronically or via postal mail.

 All entries must be postmarked or emailed by May 1, 2017, to the department chairman.

 

Unit Award: Outstanding Unit Promotion of Children & Youth Activities

Type of Award: Citation Plaque

Presented to: One-unit chairman in each division (5 overall awards) Materials and guidelines:

 • Awarded to the unit chairman in each division for the most outstanding program promoting the Children & Youth program activities.

 • Narrative not to exceed 1,000 words.

• May include pictures, news articles, news releases, etc.

• Attach an award cover sheet, including the name of the award, as well as the name and contact information for the department C&Y chairman.

 

Unit Award: Supporting Military Children Unit Award

Type of Award: Citation Plaque

 Presented to: One-unit chairman in each division (5 overall awards)

Materials and guidelines:

• Awarded to the unit chairman in each division with the best program supporting military children.

 • Narrative not to exceed 1,000 words.

• May include pictures, news articles, news releases, etc.

• Attach an award cover sheet, including the name of the award, as well as the name and contact information for the department C&Y chairman.

• Send to appropriate national divisional chairman by June 1, 2017.

 Unit Award: Star Spangled Kids Unit Award

 Type of Award: Citation Plaque

Presented to: One-unit chairman in each division (5 overall awards) Materials and guidelines:

• Awarded to the unit chairman in each division for the most outstanding program promoting “Star Spangled Kids.”

• Narrative not to exceed 1,000 words.

• May include pictures, news articles, news releases, etc.

• Attach an award cover sheet, including the name of the award, as well as the name and contact information for the department C&Y chairman.

 • Send to appropriate national divisional chairman by June 1, 2017.

 

Additional Resources You Can Use:

1,The American Legion Children & Youth programs: www.legion.org/programs

2. The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation: www.legion.org/cwf

 3. Josh and Friends (American Legion Family national partner): www.joshandfriends.com

4. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (an American Legion Child Welfare Foundation grant recipient for Klinger): www.taps.org

5. Print Pocket Constitution for school children: www.constitutionbooklet.com

6. See Children & Youth program page at www.ALAforVeterans.org for additional resources.

 7. Your national Children & Youth committee members (see front page of this Plan).

HOW TO CONDUCT A “KIDS OF DEPLOYED ARE HEROES 2” PROGRAM

Kids of Deployed Are Heroes 2 (KDH2): honoring military children who may experience a separation from one or both parents, whether deploying to a war zone, having a short tour or extended TDY (temporary duty assignment).

1. Make preparations for a supply of “recognition buttons” for distribution. Visit the Children & Youth page of the Members Only section at www.ALAforVeterans.org for more information. Buttons may be ordered through the Auxiliary, a commercial vendor or made locally with the following content: • I’m a Hero 2. • Proud Parent of a Military Child with a picture. • Proud Grandparent of a Military Child with a picture.

2. Call a planning meeting: include the Legion Family, especially Junior members. Consider the following ideas to recognize military kids:

 • Make or purchase and distribute 'I’m a Hero 2’ buttons.

• Make or purchase and distribute ‘Proud Parent/Grandparent of a Military Child’ with picture button.

• Can’t afford buttons? Make or purchase and distribute stickers.

3.Decide the best location for recognition of military kids:

• Coordinate with Family Readiness Groups for button distribution during family days.

• Coordinate with Legion Family members for local community days/fairs etc.

 • Consider having an activity day/dinner for military families at your post home.

• If your unit is in close vicinity to a military installation, contact Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) for a listing of activities in which you might have a concession or table.

• Make buttons available for ALA Girls State and The American Legion Boys State programs and Junior members.

 • Consider suggestions from Junior members for school activities and locations.

 No matter what you decide to do, plan a public relations campaign around your event. Consider having Auxiliary membership applications available. Community events provide the best opportunity to sign up new members.

HOW TO REACH OUT TO MILITARY CHILDREN AND YOUTH

1.       Sponsor a "You're My Hero" event, similar to the Hero Award, but for military children.

• Present them with certificates and medals.

     • Be creative.

    • Ask your Junior members to participate.

          • Use your public relations tools to inform the community. Refer to the Public Relations Toolkit at www.ALAforVeterans.org

 2. Host a movie and popcorn night for teens or a board game night.

3. Many military kids can't afford new prom dresses. Get the community involved in collecting and distributing gently used prom dresses.

• Ask local radio stations and newspapers to donate time and space to help advertise your initiative.

• Get local bridal shops involved.

• Involve your high school counselors.

• Your unit may also want to help with transportation expense, flowers, etc.

4. Contact your local homeless shelter. Ask if there are any veterans there with children.

• Since one in five homeless are veterans, there is a good chance they will be living in local shelters. Find out what your unit can do to help the children.  VA hospitals have homeless coordinators and/or directors of voluntary services. Meet with them to establish a method in which the coordinator/director will coordinate with your unit whenever a homeless veteran with children is identified. Offer to provide school supplies for the child, through the homeless coordinator or director of voluntary services.

5. Maybe the best thing you can do is get your Legion Family together and brainstorm ideas that might work in your community. Sometimes, school-aged children might be your best link to finding military children in your community. Be creative.