Celebrate America’s young people

As Americans, we encounter tribulations on a daily basis that may be related to the environment, unemployment or financial uncertainty. But in the midst of these tribulations, we need to remember our young people because our future, hopes and dreams rest in their hands. That’s why The American Legion has celebrated April as Children & Youth Month for the past 76 years – we are committed to supporting and promoting our national theme, "Children... Our Most Precious Natural Resource."

The support we provide to our nation’s young people can and does have a lasting impact on their life. For example, a recipient of The American Legion’s School Award Medal shared how he was thrilled that the local post and its veterans, whom he "admired and looked up to," took the time to honor him in a special way. The teachers who nominated the young man for the award and the Legionnaires who presented him with the certificate and medal have most likely forgotten about the event, but the award recipient said he "will always remember."

Now is the perfect time to think about the potential impact you and your post are having on the young people in your community. It may be a huge community-wide event that your post sponsors, or it may be a simple individual act of kindness to a child. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination. Future generations will long remember what we are doing now when we have forgotten. What are you or your post doing to make life-long memories for our young people today?

Remember, our support for young people is year-round, but April provides a window of time to take a deeper look at our work in this area and promote awareness. I encourage posts to promote awareness through local newspapers, radio and TV stations, civic groups, schools, social media and in conversations with other veterans and their families. They need to know that American Legion services are available and why children matter so much to us. For ideas on how to promote and support Children & Youth Month in your community, download a copy of the "April is Children & Youth Month" brochure.

Also, I want to hear how your post supported Children & Youth Month. Visit www.legiontown.org to share your story.