Enterprise, Alabama | April 15, 2013
As a child of a service member, military children have a lot to deal with from frequent moves, ever changing schools, making new friends and family separation through deployments.
To honor the sacrifices these children make, April is designated as the Month of the Military Child.
"Month of the Military Child is about the hardships that military kids go through," Teresa Orellana, sixth grade student at Fort Rucker Elementary School said. "Military kids have to move to different places and their father or mother are deployed so they miss out on their family."
To recognize everything military children go through, Fort Rucker Elementary School celebrated and kicked off the month with guest readers from Picerne Housing, Youth Services Center and Troy University.
Guest readers participated with all 18 classes at the school and read Dr. Seuss's “The Lorax.”
Students were also given a seed packet so they could plant "something wonderful" at home.
Among the many activities planned for the month, students also made "I am a Military Child" murals.
Sixth grade student Kiana Chio-Martinez said this activity was her favorite.
"The mural represents us and what we do as a military child," she said. "I liked that we could express ourselves. I made a little mannequin that looks like me and then I put a book in it because I like to read."
Another activity for the month, was a project for the Deployment Club kids.
Members of the Deployment Club made Flat Brats to send off to their deployed parent.
Flat Brat is an adaptation of the classic children's book “Flat Stanley.” In the book, the main character Flat Stanley is flattened and mailed off to adventures all over the world.
In this case, the Deployment Club kids made Flat Brat soldiers and wrote letters for their deployed parent to take with them on adventures and to serve as a reminder of their family back home.
"It feels good to know they'll have it because then they'll know that you're always there," Ruby Moore, fourth grade student said.
Even though military children live the military lifestyle, it is still hard for them to deal with moving around constantly and deployments.
"Military kids and civilian kids, there is a difference," Orellana said. "We have to go through many different things with our family. There's a lot of stress when dad or mom are gone. It's hard on the family."
Sixth grade student Ryan Buchanan said it's also hard leaving friends behind.
"I think it's hard on us because once you move you will miss your friends," he said. "It's happened to me and I know how it feels because I have a best friend in Fort Hood, Texas and I still get to talk to him on the phone, but it makes my heart sad because I can't see him all the time."
Although military children face many challenges, these students all agree the activities at school, at home and in the community help.
Fort Rucker Elementary School Principal Vicki Gilmer said the school tries its best to help the students transition and provide support services to help with the needs of the the military child.
"Fort Rucker Elementary is a part of the worldwide community support network available to military families," she said. "Teachers, counselors and psychologists specialize in promoting a quality education, but also in the unique needs of the military child. Our most important contributions are a high quality education and providing a stable environment for the military child."
The Month of the Military Child was established to bring awareness for the military child and to thank them for the sacrifices they make daily.
"We celebrate the Month of the Military Child so we can feel appreciated and so we can have some fun," Buchanan said.