West Virginians are encouraged to wear purple on Monday, April 15, in support of military children and their family members who serve.

The event, known as “Purple Up!” helps raise awareness for the state’s 8,000 military families, according to Laura Davis, WVU Extension Service’s Operation Military Kids representative.

“More than 6,500 children in our state have one or more parents who serve in our military,” Davis said. “This is just a small way to show those kids that the community is here for them. We know how difficult it can be for the children when a parent is called to serve.”

Operation Military Kids is a collaborative between WVU Extension Service and the U.S. Army. It helps connect military children with local resources to enhance their well-being and gain a sense of community.

In West Virginia, the program provides mobile technology labs to help connect children with their family members who are deployed. The lab contains laptop computers, digital and video cameras and software to help youth send personal messages to their loved ones.

Camps, babysitting training, public speaking programs and youth leadership development opportunities are available to children of military families through Operation Military Kids.

Other military outreach programs are also delivered through a collaboration with West Virginia State University. In north central West Virginia, families can use health journals to help record their families’ medical history. The project was created by Bonnie Dunn, West Virginia State University Extension Specialist, and is carried out through a grant from West Virginia State University and the West Virginia’s Family Resource Network.

“Military families frequently relocate,” Becky Mowbray Smith, WVU Extension Service Harrison County agent, said. “It can be difficult to keep track of your medical records and to make sure they’re transferred when you move. This journal empowers families to keep their own records and make the transition to a new doctor a little easier.”

Purple Up! should help to raise awareness for the availability of these programs, said Smith.

Community members are encouraged to dress in purple due to its significance for military families. The color purple is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue, according to Davis.

For more information on ways you can Purple Up! For Military kids, or get involved with Operation: Military Kids, contact Laura Davis at laura.davis@mailwvu.edu, or call 304-406-7020.



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CONTACT: Cassie Waugh
Cassie.waugh@mail.wvu.edu; Office: 304.293.8735, cell: 304.376.1829