Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Holly Cook
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Started in 1986 by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, Month of the Military Child is held to honor the children of U.S. military members.
According to the 786th Force Support Squadron personnel systems manager, there are 8,978 military children in the KMC. Month of the Military Child emphasizes the important role children play in the armed forces community.
“It’s important to remind everyone that it’s not just the military member who serves, the children are serving also,” said Shaquita Ponder, 86th Force Support Squadron family child care program manager.
Supporting the children through moves from different duty stations and deployments is important, said Josie Cordova, 86th FSS chief of airman and family services.
“Being home while my mom was deployed was rough but it made me stronger,” said Alyssa Mason, daughter of Chief Master Sgt. Jessica Mason, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa A1 chief enlisted manager. “Her being gone made me a lot closer with my sisters.”
Whether it’s adjusting to a new base or coping with a family member’s deployment, the KMC has multiple facilities for children to go to.
“I like coming to the Ramstein Youth Center after school,” Mason said. “I get to hang out with my friends, help younger children, and the staff is always really nice and helpful.”
Though moving might be tough, some military children can find the bright side to all the life changes.
“I enjoy moving to different places because I get to see different places that I might not get to see again,” Mason said. “I get to see things that most American kids my age never see.”
The KMC CDCs and youth centers are holding different events throughout the month of April to celebrate the Month of the Military Child and to raise awareness to different childhood issues.
The 86th FSS will be holding a Solidarity Sleep Out in front of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center today, said Cordova. The sleep out is being held to raise money and awareness of homeless teens.
Teens from around the KMC are coming out to sleep in front of the KMCC from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. with only card board boxes or sleeping bags, Ponder said. They aren’t allowed to bring any electronic devices so they can experience what it is like to be homeless.
For more information about different events being held in the KMC for children check out the calendar of events on www.86fss.com or contact KMC child care facilities at:
• Ramstein CDC: 480-9276 or 06371-47-9276
• Vogelweh CDC: 489-7419 or 0631-536-7419
• Ramstein Youth Center: 480-6444 or 06371-47-6444
• Vogelweh Youth Center: 489-6504 or 0631-5536-5080