In this our 135th year of helping children and families to thrive, we are celebrating in many ways. I’ve been trying to find ways to really grasp that breadth of time and what it means to have offered the support and caring and guidance to tens of thousands of children and families in their time of need.
With Memorial Day on Monday, I’ve been thinking about 2018 and its relevance as the 100 year anniversary of World War I…dubbed “the war to end all wars…” When America sent 2 million troops to France to fight in WWI, Children’s Home & Aid had been helping children find loving families for 35 years…and I am sure that some of those children who were adopted (and grew up healthy, strong, capable) answered the nation’s call to serve in uniform in 1918. And I am also sure that throughout the next 100 years, the children we served also heeded the call of their country to fight for liberty.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, designated by congress, to honor those who have given their lives in service to our country. Sometimes I feel that the significance of this day is lost as people often say, “have a Happy Memorial Day…” as they head off to a three day weekend.
I am very grateful that Children’s Home & Aid has made a special commitment to be aware of the sacrifices and lived experience of our nation’s service members and their loved ones. We’ve taken time to remember that these past 17 years of war have been incredibly hard on our military families. Many have watched their loved ones go off to war. On Monday, some will be remembering those loved ones who never came back.
Kristina Kaufmann, Executive Director, Code of Support Foundation noted in her recent post….
“We now have an entire generation of military families who know nothing but war. An estimated 30-35% of the 2.7 million troops who have deployed since 9/11 are struggling with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or substance abuse. These are conditions known to affect entire families, and can derail the mental health and development of the over two million children who have had a parent deployed over the past 14 years.”
A growing body of evidence indicates that some children of military families — especially those living in PTS/TBI households — have been negatively affected by their parent’s deployments. Research conducted by the University of Southern California found that military connected adolescents have a higher rate of suicidal thoughts than their civilian counterparts, and other studies indicate that military spouses — particularly those serving as caregivers to support their wounded veterans — are more at risk to suffer mental health problems.
On behalf of all who serve in uniform and those who love those in service, let’s take a moment to reflect on their sacrifice and remember that our mission calls us to be supportive and engaged. Thanks to our staff members, veteran, active duty, reserve.
Nancy B. Ronquillo
President & CEO