For the past 75 years, The American Legion has designated April as Children & Youth Month. During this time, Legion family members support youth activities within their community through Legion programs such as Temporary Financial Assistance, or through external organizations such as Children's Miracle Network hospitals. For the 2011-2012 membership year, posts conducted more than 14,000 children and youth activities and provided nearly $2 million in aid for those activities.
As I travel to posts around the country, I am fortunate enough to hear all the ways Legion family members and posts positively influence the lives of children and youth in their community and beyond. I recently heard a story that stood out to me because it showed how big of an impact The American Legion can have on a community when the Legion family serves together.
Legionnaires, and SAL squadron and Auxiliary members of Post 64 in Monroe, Ga., raised more than $2,100 to purchase school supplies for children in need. The Legion family members asked local elementary schools in the county what items were needed for children, and then notified all media channels of the time and date that Post 64 would distribute the supplies to children who had a parent deployed, disabled, unemployed, etc. Parents or guardians of the children came to Post 64 to pick up the supplies, which were organized in accordance with each elementary school. In total, the post disbursed school supplies to 100 families, benefitting 230 children.
Our support for young people is year-round, but as we observe "Children & Youth Month," take a closer look at your post's work in this area and see how you and your fellow Legionnaires can promote more awareness. Communities, and veterans and their family members, need to know that American Legion services are available and why children matter so much to us.
Meanwhile, share your words and photos in support of Children & Youth Month online at www.legiontown.org . Visit the site, deliver your message and share it through email and Facebook. Let's spread the word on how the Legion family is committed to supporting our national theme, "Children.... Our Most Precious Natural Resource."