Month of the Military Child is a time each April for communities to celebrate kids in military families. As the COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges for everyone, two military spouses are calling on military kids to show support and kindness to their communities, With a nod to Purple Up, featuring the signature color of military kids, Amanda Trimillos and Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman, created Purple Up to Step Up, a different way to observe Month of the Military Child.
“We can’t do the things we usually associate with Month of the Military Child this year, so we want to celebrate military kids by showing how much they give to our communities and those around them,” says Amanda.
“We want to celebrate military kids by showing how much they give to our communities and those around them.”
Stacy says, “When our nation has been attacked, hurting, and vulnerable, our military has always answered the call to protect and serve. Military kids are in a unique position to be helpers, to reach out with acts of kindness and service.”
Amanda and Stacy are the coauthors of Seasons of my Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers. Their book outlines four Seasons of TransitionTM military students experience: Season of Leaving, Season of Arriving, Season of Growing, Season of Thriving.
In the Season of Thriving, the coauthors say, students reflect their success and growth in an environment by reaching out to others.
“Reaching out and serving others, while it helps those being served also helps the student to grow in confidence and ability,” Amanda explains.
Stacy agrees: “When we encourage military kids to look for ways to serve, we’re not just asking them to give, we’re helping them to grow, to contribute as active participants in the world around them.”
“Military kids are in a unique position to be helpers, to reach out with acts of kindness and service.”
Amanda and Stacy suggest four areas of emphasis for Purple Up to Step Up. These can be done week by week throughout April or any time:
Senior Salute: Reach out to older people and veterans who may be especially isolated and alone.
“I know since our military family is so far away from grandparents, it would be heartwarming to us if we knew someone was looking out for our grandparents back home,” says Amanda.
Deployed Not Forgotten: Families may be facing more or extended deployments and reduced support networks because of social distancing.
Nice Neighbor: This might include neighbors who have lost jobs or income, or those who are medically fragile and can’t go outside.
“This might even be military neighbors affected by the stop movement order, whose PCS has been delayed.,” says Stacy. “Maybe they are in TLF (temporary living facility) or living with stick furniture, if their household goods were already packed or sent.
Give and Thanks: Remembering those who continue to work to provide medical care, stock grocery shelves, pick up trash, deliver mail, and more, and those who are still working to provide services remotely, such as educators.
Ways to Serve:
- Chalk messages on sidewalks.
- Write letters, send cards.
- Make and send video performances of music, plays, comedy.
- Create artwork to include in messages.
- Offer to run errands or pick up groceries.
- Drop off stationery supplies and stamps.
- Buy and give away gift cards from local businesses and grocery stores.
- Make and give away masks.
- Help with yard work: Mow grass, rake leaves.
- Drop off surprise packages of needed groceries, puzzles, dog/cat food to seniors in your community.
- Use virtual platforms to play games, sing songs together.
- Wear purple or use the color as a theme whenever possible.
Amanda and Stacy say every small act of service and kindness can make a difference. More ideas and encouragement for Purple Up to Step Up are available on the Seasons of My Military Student Cultivation Team Room page on Facebook. They encourage kids and families to serve according to their time and ability, always observing health guidelines to protect themselves and others.
Ways to Protect:
- Be vigilant in washing hands thoroughly (at least 20 seconds) before handling anything to be given or sent to others—especially to those with health concerns.
- Follow all local, state and military installation guidelines on social distancing.
- Do not send or handle anything if you or a family member has any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Encourage recipients to follow safety measures for receiving packages and food.
“Let this Month of the Military Child be the month our kids Purple Up to Step Up with acts of kindness and service,” says Stacy. “Do it wearing purple, write in purple, embrace purple as our kids show they are thriving citizens of the world.”
- How to join the Seasons of My Military Student Cultivation Team
- Helping Children Navigate Uncertainty in Military Family Life