UNION COUNTY — Times of national crisis can dramatically disrupt a military family’s life. Youth Outreach partnership supports military youth, ages 6 to 18, coping with a deployed parent, or parents, by creating a positive, supportive network. Through this partnership, children of National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty families, who do not live near or have access to a military Youth Center, can receive a free membership and participation in the afterschool program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County at locations in Union, Elizabeth and Plainfield.
Russell Triolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County said, “Putting oneself in harm’s way to serve our Country cannot and must not be overlooked. The men and women that do so deserve to have their family members reached out to. The very least we can do is provide opportunities for children of these brave men and women by providing free membership to our Clubs that includes a mentoring program that will provide these children with a dedicated staff to teach, help, and guide them. When National Guard, Army Reserve and other military parents living in civilian communities are mobilized, their children suddenly become different. Now they are “military kids” but they still look the same to teachers, friends and the rest of the community.”
Military children face unique challenges, including frequent moves, separation from a parent, and other deployment related stressors. Last year, the White House reported there were 1.7 million American children and youth under 18-years-old with a parent serving in the military and approximately 900,000 children and youth with one or both parents deployed multiple times. Youth programs are an important protective factor in the lives of young people. Currently, there are more than 480,000 military youth participating in affiliated Boys & Girls Club programs on installations in the US and abroad and more than 17,000 military youth served in local BGC’s but there are many more, living in your community that could benefit from your programs.
Triolo continued “Any child that is an “eligible military youth” can become a part of this free offering at one of our Clubs. An “eligible military youth” is as follows: a child of active duty personnel (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps & Coast Guard), a child of deployed National Guard and Reserve personnel, a child of a Reservist on active duty or during inactive duty personnel training, a child of active duty families assigned to newly established joint bases, a child of relocated spouse and family members of deployed active duty personnel.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County, which operates facilities in Union, Roselle, Plainfield, Elizabeth and Hillside, serves over 7,500 children. They seek to inspire and enable young people, who need them most, to realize their full potential and have provided opportunity for youth since 1955. They are part of a national network of some 4,000 neighborhood-based facilities, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which serves more than 4.6 million young people annually, in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases worldwide. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development, education and career exploration, financial literacy, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation, and family outreach. To find out more, please call 908-687-7976 ext. 0
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