Purdue to celebrate Month of the Military Child

March 30, 2012

A statewide creativity contest for youth and a show of solidarity involving the color purple are two ways a Purdue-affiliated organization will celebrate National Month of the Military Child in April.

Indiana Operation: Military Kids (OMK), a program of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and Indiana 4-H Youth Development, is sponsoring the contest and an initiative called "Purple Up! For Military Kids."

The latter encourages Hoosiers to wear purple -- which represents all branches of the United States military -- on April 13 to show support for military children. As part of the initiative, Indiana OMK also will pass out 400 purple Month of the Military Child buttons at Spring Fest on April 14 and 15.

The creativity contest is open to video, essay and art entries from Indiana youth in grades one through 12. Entries will be separated into three grade categories. For more information about the contest, visit www.four-h.purdue.edu/omk/militarychild.html.

Ryan Wynkoop, Indiana OMK program coordinator, says he hopes the program's participation in National Month of the Military Child will help spread the word about its resources for military families.

"While OMK is a statewide program, Tippecanoe County has the tenth-highest military youth population in Indiana," Wynkoop says. "OMK is right here in their own backyard, ready to help them."

Each day in April, Indiana OMK will share a military family resource on its Facebook page, found at www.facebook.com/IndianaOMK.

At Spring Fest, the program also will promote its resources and allow visitors to make cards for military members. Indiana OMK will be located at the 4-H Youth Development table.

Also, as part of Month of the Military Child, Indiana OMK has passed out purple buttons across the state. Purdue's Military Family Research Institute, an OMK state partner and a fellow advocate for military families, recently purchased 1,000 of the buttons to support Indiana OMK's cause, Wynkoop says.

Indiana OMK's staff members are part of Purdue's Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education in the College of Agriculture. For more information about the program, go to www.four-h.purdue.edu/omk.