Las Cruces – Local children in military families who have a deployed parent are receiving help from Operation: Military Kids (OMK) and New Mexico State University.
OMK is a partnership between Army Child and Youth Services and 4-H National Headquarters. It builds partnerships with organizations throughout the state and is administered by the 4-H Youth Development Department at NMSU.
More than 1.7 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military. New Mexico OMK program coordinator Amanda Good said she hopes to continue raising awareness about issues facing these children such as the lack of after-school programs and youth activities, separation anxiety and changes in communication with the child's deployed parent.
"I am inspired daily by our youngest heroes courageous contributions to our country," Good said. "OMK supports service members by ensuring that families and children left behind during deployment have a community support system in place."
OMK accomplishes its mission by implementing several core program elements. One of those elements are "hero packs," backpacks filled with mementos and items like disposable cameras, photo albums, scrapbooks, journals, pens and stationary to help children connect with their deployed parent.
Another element used by OMK are "mobile technology labs." These computer labs contain software and program materials for children and youth to send personal messages to their deployed loved ones.
Upcoming events sponsored by OMK include a newcomer "Blue Star Mom's State Conference" to take place April 16 and a camping experience in June.
Those who would like more information about OMK, upcoming events, or who wish to donate items to the Hero Pack Project can contact Amanda Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 575-646-2555.