Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Each April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to celebrate the more than two million children whose parents are active-duty service members, National Guard, reservists, or veterans. While they are some of the most adaptable and resilient kids around, the month-long recognition highlights the need to understand the impact of service on military-connected children from experiences including frequent relocations, new schools, and a parent’s absence due to deployments and training. It is also a time to celebrate the contributions military kids make to communities across America through their service, creativity, and tenacity.

On the eve of this year’s Month of the Military Child, First Lady Jill Biden landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. During her March 29th visit, Dr. Biden toured a local Purple Star elementary school supporting military-connected children and hosted a listening session with military parents as part of her Joining Forces initiative supporting military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.

First Lady Jill Biden receives a briefing on the Purple Star Program from Commissioner of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission Pete LuPiba and 3rd grade teacher Amber Farkas, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at Beverly Gardens Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

At her first stop at Beverly Gardens Elementary School, a public school located next to the base, Dr. Biden received a briefing on the Purple Star program, which is designed to help schools respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face when navigating the challenges of military life. Pete LuPiba, widely considered the creator of the Purple Star program, shared the history and goals of the initiative, while Amber Farkas, a third-grade teacher, shared how the program is implemented at the school level. Recognizing that approximately 76 percent of Beverly Garden students are military-connected, Dr. Biden then visited a second-grade classroom where she spoke with the students and helped with a mathematics exercise.

Next, Dr. Biden visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force to host a listening session with military parents. The conversation included single parents, foster parents, and parents participating in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The parents shared with Dr. Biden about their experiences and the need to continue building support and resources for military-connected children in their classrooms and the community.

First Lady Jill Biden hosts a listening session with military parents, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

With military child education as a primary pillar of the Joining Forces initiative, Dr. Biden’s visit served to highlight Purple Star schools as a best practice and encourage educators and communities to continue reducing barriers and increasing support for military-connected children.

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