Tyndall participates in 2018 Month of the Military Child Published April 19, 2018 By Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- When someone raises their right hand and swears the oath of enlistment, they are understanding that sacrifices will be made while in the military. Those who often pay the biggest price, however, are the children of those service members. April is designated as the Month of the Military Child by the Department of Defense Education Activity. The month was established in 1986 by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger to recognize and honor the unique challenges, contributions and sacrifices faced by military children. “This month is special in that we are spreading the understanding to the rest of the community about how vital our military youth are to our resiliency and family dynamic,” said Mathew Kuhl, 325th Force Support Squadron youth programs director. According to the DoD, approximately 1.9 million military children serve worldwide alongside their parents. These military children often face hardships not seen by non-military households such as frequently moving, lengthy family separations and temporary assignments or deployments. “The Tyndall Youth Center celebrates military children every day and every year,” Kuhl said. “Many of these children go through things day in and day out, and it is vital that we provide them structure and support in an environment that can be very stressful and ever changing. “The hardest part is the constant change, whether its location, deployments or family dynamic, it’s constantly changing and although it makes them very strong and resilient -- it’s a rough road,” Kuhl added. Each year, the DoDEA encourages schools and military installations to celebrate throughout April and to plan special events to honor military children. “It’s important to honor our military children because of their sacrifice,” said Marcus Forte, 325th FSS Child and Youth Services Flight chief. “They are the unsung heroes because they serve alongside the military member, but in a different capacity. One difference between military and non-military children is that those that have parents who serve, follow suit with the comradery and closeness a military lifestyle brings. Going from place to place, military children have the opportunity to build connections with many friends in many places -- relationships that may last a lifetime, Forte added. Forte and Kuhl believe that the strength of the friendships built within the military community are vital to honoring military children long-term by providing structure and support for them. Kuhl continued in the vein of support by speaking of family involvement and participation events hosted throughout the month such as a family pinwheel project that is designed to help families discuss and identify important topics in their lives and share them together to try to grow their family dynamic closer. Additionally, Tyndall Elementary, a part of Bay County Schools, participated in the National Purple Up Day April 13, 2018. Tyndall provides the infrastructure to support the Airmen and their families, in this instance, the military children are provided support through a strong partnership across the installation in the child care facilities, with medical advisors as well as in the schools, Forte added. “Team Tyndall works as a close-knit family in supporting our Airmen and their families,” Forte said. For more information about the Tyndall Youth Center visit www.325fss.com/ or visit their location on base.