Once a month, Coast Guard All Hands will feature “ Dear Coast Guard Family ,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the sacrifices, the resilience, and the challenges that our incredible military children overcome.
Coast Guard children live a life very different than their civilian peers – a life that most cannot begin to imagine. Military children have felt the sting of a hard goodbye. They have transferred to different and far-off places – learning to “bloom where they are planted” – in new schools and communities. As their parent (or parents) serves this great nation, they have sacrificed precious, irreplaceable time – often, over and over again.
Military children didn’t choose a life of service, but they live it so admirably. It’s often in the toughest of situations, that we learn what we’re truly made of and what’s most important in life. With sacrifice comes strength, and bravery, and flexibility, and resilience.
My hope for our military children, is that this journey – this adventurous Coast Guard life – will show them how strong and incredible they truly are: “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” Perhaps for our Coast Guard children, that ship will be a cutter!
Resources for Coast Guard Children:
Each year, Operation Homefront recognizes outstanding young people through their Military Child of the Year Award. Learn about our 2018 Coast Guard Military Child of the Year Award recipient, Roark Corson, here. Congratulations, Roark – you set an excellent example for all military children!
Sesame Street for Military Families is a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website where families can find information and resources on military-specific topics.
Military Kids Connect (MKC) is an online community for military children (6-17 years old) that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support children dealing with the unique challenges of military life. MKC offers activities, fun games, helpful videos, and an online community that can build and reinforce understanding, resilience, and coping skills.
The CG SUPRT program offers free and confidential services to help you maximize your potential – including non-medical counseling. To access services, call 855-CG SUPRT (247-8778) or visit www.CGSUPRT.com, select “My CG SUPRT Site” and enter the password “USCG.”
Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families is a program that provides on-demand, online tutoring and homework help at no cost to eligible service members and their dependents. With live, expert tutors available 24/7, military-connected students can receive academic help at their moment of need – anywhere they have an internet connection.
Coast Guard Work-Life provides a number of family support programs, including an Adoption Reimbursement Program, a scholarship Program, child care resources (including a Child Care Subsidy Program), and more!
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is the official relief society of the U.S. Coast Guard. Check out their excellent programs, including a new PCS Child Care Expense Reimbursement Program and a Special Needs Grant.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the U.S. Coast Guard.