Supporting Military Families Through the Armed Services YMCA's Programs for Children | Bob Woodruff Foundation

Supporting Military Families Through the Armed Services YMCA’s Programs for Children

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We often talk about military children’s resilience as military life can be a source of stress and trauma for the kids. They face unique challenges related to their parents’ service: frequent moves, long separations, and the stress of deployment. Through our investments, we work to ensure that all members of the military community, including spouses and children, thrive after service.

Recently, we invested in the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA). Founded in 1861, the organization provides free and affordable programs and services for military families, and promotes youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The ASYMCA’s offerings for military children include full day childcare, early learning, after school programs, and summer camps. Through these activities, military children make friends, have fun, and build skills. The programs offer a sense of normalcy and stability for children whose lives are disrupted by their parent’s military service. 

Through its family centers, the ASYMCA provides resources to military families. These include parenting classes, counseling, support groups, and financial and job search assistance. The centers host community events and activities, and build a sense of connection among military families. These resources position parents to navigate the challenges of raising children in a military family, They also provide effective parenting tools.

Supporting Military Families Needs

High rates of spousal unemployment, barriers to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and difficulty accessing affordable childcare contribute to food security among military families. To address food insecurity, ASYMCA launched a mobile food market in Killeen, TX. They also increased military families’ access to high-quality, affordable childcare. When military spouses have affordable childcare, they can pursue education, look for work, and earn a second income.

Through an NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community grant, the ASYMCA will

  • train childcare teachers and staff to support military children who are stressed, fearful, or lonely.
  • maintain their childcare programs across their 17 different locations.

“The Bob Woodruff Foundation is proud to invest in the ASYMCA’s efforts to increase access to food and to affordable childcare programs,” said Emily Bader, Senior Director of Investments at the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Lack of access to affordable childcare is a barrier to military spouse employment, and contributes to the household’s hunger and food insecurity. ” 

The ASYMCA’s work with military children and families is vital to the well-being of our military community. The organization’s programs and services help military children and their families thrive and navigate the challenges of military life. 

Learn more about our investment in the Armed Services YMCA.