(This article originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)
Challenges of military life don’t affect just those wearing the uniform, so a nonprofit organization is putting the focus on military children through a series of empowering virtual discussions.
Kids Rank provides resources to help servicemembers’ and veterans’ kids thrive and build social skills. The nonprofit has launched a series of web-based sessions called Foundations that focus on needs specific to military life.
The sessions are free and available to view online.
As military families move often, it’s often tough for children to find their place, said Kelcey Liverpool, executive director of Kids Rank, who was a Navy spouse for 17 years with kids of her own.
The nonprofit works to provide resources to ease that challenge for children from kindergarten to eighth grade.
“They are strong and amazing and have so much potential,” Liverpool said. “I want them to recognize their uniqueness — individually and collectively as military children.”
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Kids Rank is solely focused on children — a sort of Military OneSource for military kids. It regularly partners with other nonprofit groups to provide programming and support to the kids, who will also find skill-building projects and volunteer opportunities.
The group normally hosts an annual daylong conference for military kids, but it pivoted to the bite-size virtual Foundations during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the benefits is that family members stationed anywhere may stream the discussions and bring the topics to their own communities.
Recent Foundations topics have included active duty and veteran moms sharing experiences their kids have encountered, and conversations in partnership with Sesame Street Workshop and a USO in Illinois, where Kids Rank is based.
The series features panelists who specialize in education and mental well-being to guide discussions on how the needs of military children can be met. Topics may include how to handle bullying, mental health, and roles as youth caregivers to wounded parents.
“Some of the topics are heavier,” Liverpool said. “The whole point is ... military kids can be resilient.”
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