The mission of the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation is to provide support to military families, focusing on the educational, emotional, and physical health of the children.
Our job is to provide support and tools to help military parents continue to raise their children and maintain close bonds, even when separated by thousands of miles.
In putting together our programs, we solicit information and ideas from a wide range of resources, from academic experts to military personnel. The consensus of the research shows that there are three areas of concern for the children of deployed families:
1) Educational 2) Emotional and 3) Physical.
But let’s face it, any parent could have told you that. We all want our kids to be healthy (physical), happy (emotional), and do well in school (educational). However, it makes sense that the added stress of deployment could create problems in one or all of those areas. These are the pillars of our foundation.
It’s not surprising that kids can have problems in school when a parent is deployed. First, there is one less parent at home to supervise homework and help when needed. Some military parents get orders to move, thus the children have been to numerous schools and can’t build solid relationships or foundations. Parents with a deployed spouse often face financial strains, which don’t allow them to have the extra funds for after school literacy programs, tutors, or other educational activities.
There is a lot written today about “emotional intelligence” and “happiness.” We all know that how we feel impacts what we do. With kids, it’s more difficult because they don’t always have the vocabulary to express how they feel. They may be sad that Mom is away and can’t come watch them play their championship game. They may be angry that Dad is overseas and can’t tuck them in at night. They may “act out” their emotions by kicking their sibling, refusing to obey, and crying at school. Lots of times, parents aren’t afforded an opportunity to recognize the problem due to the needs of other siblings, added house stresses, work, and so on.
There are a lot of temptations in today’s world to be physically unfit. From fast food to video games, it’s not a shock that the added stress of deployment can lead to making decisions that are ultimately unhealthy.
Kids start getting less exercise because staying inside and watching TV helps mom or dad get things done around the house. Often times, junk foods are quicker, easier, and cheaper than eating healthier foods. It’s hard for a stateside parent to prepare healthy meals when they may be working a full-time job while trying to be both mom and dad at home. Physical inactivity and poor eating become habits, which are hard to break.
The Jackson in Action 83 Foundation strives to help families in all three areas. We provide resources and tools to help children express how they feel. We will help them get more active. We will instill programs in schools to improve their academic performance and interest. We want our military kids to be healthy, happy, and smart!