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DoD celebrates Month of the Military Child

Children participate in the trike-a-thon at the Nellis Child Development Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 14, 2017. The trike-a-thon was one of several activities held in April to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes/Released)

Children participate in the trike-a-thon at the Nellis Child Development Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 14, 2017. The trike-a-thon was one of several activities held in April to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes)

A child rides a tricycle during the trike-a-thon at the Nellis Child Development Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 14, 2017. April is designated as the Month of the Military Child and is a way to celebrate the unique aspects of being a military child that most other children outside the military will never have to face. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes/Released)

A child rides a tricycle during the trike-a-thon at the Nellis Child Development Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 14, 2017. April is designated as the Month of the Military Child and is a way to celebrate the unique aspects of being a military child. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathan Byrnes)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- April is designated as the Month of the Military Child by the Department of Defense Education Activity. This awareness month was established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community.

Military children face unique challenges such as extended family separations, frequent moves and the stress of deployments.

The MOMC is a way to celebrate the unique aspects of being a military child that most other children outside the military may never have to face. Special events for MOMC have been taking place all month throughout the military to recognize these children.

One of the ways the DODEA is recognizing military children this year is through “Purple Up! For Military Kids” day April 21, 2017. They are encouraging military families and local communities to wear purple in support of military children’s strength and sacrifices.

“MOMC is designed to highlight our kids and their unique experiences in life,” said Keana Sullivan, the Nellis Air Force Base Child Development Center director. “We do something every day, usually something fun. We have activities such as crazy hair day, sports day, trike-a-thon, our annual spaghetti dinner and we finish up the month with an ice cream social which is always a big hit.”

According to Sullivan, some people might look at what military children go through as negatives, but she prefers to look at all the positives that come along with it.

“There is a significant difference in their life experience in the world and we really just need to celebrate that,” said Sullivan. “It’s not a bad thing. It’s just different, but we are all different together and this month is just a celebration of that. It gives them something to be happy about and we try to celebrate the positives of being a military child. We are still unique and valued and there is something to be joyous about in their experiences as military children.”

While this month is meant to acknowledge the adjustments that each child is required to make, it also highlights the importance of the support systems in place for these children, especially when their parents are away.

“I’m honored that I’m able to be here and be an advocate to help out these families,” said Ciera Jones, a Nellis AFB Child Development Center pre-school teacher. “We go through a lot here. From deployments, temporary (assignments), permanent change of station…There is constantly something going on and it can be hard on the child. It just means a lot to me that I get to be a part of this journey of assuring families that their children will be taken care of no matter what.”

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