April is the Month of the Military Child and the American Red Cross is holding various programs to recognize children and the important position they hold as part of military families here at home and abroad.
In Vilseck, Germany, Red Cross staff and volunteers hosted a Healing Arts class with families of the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). The WTU consists of service members in transition and recovery after an injury or illness. Many live overseas with their families. Healing Arts classes are held monthly for wounded service members in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. The classes are meant to bring stress relief, distraction from everyday soldier life and offer a creative outlet.
Karen Chatman is the wife of a U.S. Army captain who brought her children to the class where they created masks, boxes, clay robots and smiles. “This shows the kids they are important too,” she said. “Here everything is mostly focused on the soldiers, so it is nice to show they are part of the community as well.” Her son Josh said, “It is calming and fun to do this.” As they were putting the finishing touches on their artwork, Shardea, a high school senior commented, “Overseas it is more difficult, there just aren’t as many things to be involved in and you have limited access to art programs, so this is nice that the Red Cross provides this.”
Julia Tandy is a caseworker with the WTU. “I have seen a positive response from the class attendees. These classes help show them a sense of accomplishment and completion.” Tandy has attended a few of the Red Cross classes and feels that in this environment, service members and their families come together in a positive way. “Month of the Military Child brings awareness of services; brings activities to help families come together and creates bonds,” she said. ” “I overheard one of the spouses say she hasn’t painted since elementary school and it was fun to see her being creative and reminded of the simple enjoyment of art and painting.”