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By Erica Blanton, Staff Writer, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 30, 2020
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Mikey Boutte, 9, and Emily Sandoval, 12, children of Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs specialist, show off their purple shirts to celebrate Purple Up! on April 20, 2020 at their home on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. April is the Month of the Military Child, were we honor military children for the sacrifices they make every day living the military lifestyle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)
April is an important month for military children. It’s a time when their hard work, sacrifice and resiliency is recognized. Month of the Military Child, and “Purple Up! For Military Kids Day,” is a way for communities to show their support and pride for military children.
The color purple encompasses all of the military branches’ individual colors into one and wearing it throughout the month is a visual way to acknowledge and thank military children for their strength and sacrifice.
But that can be hard to do in the middle of a “stay-at-home” order, so the Peterson Air Force Base Youth Center took the time to create a virtual meeting specifically to thank their “military brats.”
Ann-Marie Ely, Peterson AFB Youth Programs assistant youth director, explained that it’s important to give children a chance to connect with one another during these unfamiliar times.
“Kids are such social creatures, it’s important that they see one another,” she said. “And the staff too! We play such an important part in each other’s lives. And everyone is missing that connection right now.”
And Kiyan Ardoin, ten years old, is excited for the daily meetings.
“I’m not bored all the time now,” he said. “They have fun activities and it’s nice to see everyone.”
His mother, Asel Ardoin, appreciates the time as well.
“The virtual meetings have been very helpful to do,” she said. “Especially with being stuck at home, he gets to do other things besides schoolwork.”
The virtual programming takes place during after school hours, giving both kids and parents a mental break from the day. There are different activities they can participate in, either together or separately, ranging from cooking classes to fitness events (with proper protective wear and physical distancing encouraged).
“Everyone has some commonality in their lives at this moment,” said Ely. “We want these kids to see a friendly face and be comforted that they’re making and keeping these connections.”
To stay up to date on the latest virtual programming that Peterson Youth Programs has planned, follow the 21st Force Support Squadron on Facebook at 21fss.