American Legion Auxiliary — February 2013
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National News

A BEST-PRACTICE SHOWCASE FEATURING NEWS ABOUT YOU. FROM YOU.

Get all the latest news from the American Legion Auxiliary at www.ALAforVeterans.org

JUNIOR MEMBER EMBODIES ALA’S SERVICE NOT SELF MOTTO

By Nathan D. Brown, AmeriCorps VISTA Member

There aren’t many people like Iowa’s 7-year-old Junior member Raegan Junge, who has selflessly devoted herself to serving our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.

In December, Junge was recognized locally with the Auxiliary’s 2011-2012 Junior Public Relations Award for the media coverage of her disaster relief efforts. The award is just one in a line of many Junge has received, including the 2011 Good Deed Award, 2012 VA&R Home and Field Service certificate for 700 volunteer hours, and she was named 2011-2012 Junior Volunteer of the Year and Public Relations honoree by the Department of Iowa.

Since April 2011, Junge has been raising funds and taking action for the victims of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo.

The Joplin tornado struck when Junge was only 6. To raise money for the victims of the disaster, Junge made and sold bracelets. She raised nearly $1,600, and it went to buy a car for an elderly couple living in temporary shelter. Junge wanted to do more and auctioned off her own horse and sent the money to the same elderly couple. Because of her actions, Junge received a lot of attention locally and nationally. Junge was voted as the winner of The Weather Channel’s “Epic Christmas Contest,” which recognized individual efforts to assist others after natural disasters in 2011. She was awarded $5,000 and set up a scholarship fund for local high school seniors. Locally, Junge became a conduit for good, and donations of goods and money began to flock to her — money, school supplies, Christmas presents, and more.

And this is only the beginning of Junge’s remarkable story.

Recently, she focused her efforts on those people affected by Hurricane Sandy. She used her own money (and some of her father’s too) to buy items for mothers and babies at Madonna House, a shelter for mothers and their children in need of assistance in Neptune, N.J.

For Christmas, Junge wanted to do something especially for veterans at a new veterans outreach center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She filled 30 backpacks with care items and delivered them to the center along with Christmas cards from local elementary students.

NATIONAL PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN MOVING FORWARD

At the 2012 National Convention in Indianapolis, delegates voted to move forward with a groundbreaking, professionally driven national public awareness campaign for the American Legion Auxiliary.

The awareness campaign, led by the Indianapolis subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, the third largest communications group worldwide, will help answer the questions Auxiliary members hear too often from the public: “Who are you, and what do you do?”

Following convention, the work began. Based upon data analysis, five test markets have been established that have geographic and market size diversity, both with and without VA Medical Center facilities nearby, and with a strong military personnel presence.

The test markets’ point of contact is Past National President Kris Nelson (2011-2012) and a team of equally dedicated Auxiliary members. Publicis will lead the effort, working with National Headquarters staff and consulting the test market team as they develop the campaign to help the Auxiliary become a more well known name among the general public, especially by troops and their families.

The five test markets:

• Norfolk, Va. • Seattle • Lexington, Ky. • San Antonio • Colorado Springs, Colo.

Media buys (the purchase of advertising space in a media venue) are taking place, with material to begin airing in the spring on television and radio stations plus outdoor advertisements in these five markets. Stay tuned for additional updates in future issues of Auxiliary magazine.

National leadership and staff listened to members’ mounting concerns about the public’s lack of knowledge of who we are, what we do, and why we matter. The national public awareness campaign is moving full steam ahead to make the American Legion Auxiliary a household name.

THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY MISSION:

In the spirit of service, not self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security. Children & Youth: We Will take Care of our militarY Children

CHILDREN & YOUTH: WE WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR MILITARY CHILDREN

The American Legion Auxiliary’s Children & Youth focus this year is to develop, implement, and monitor programs and activities that contribute to the physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness of children and youth of military families.

April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. If you have a military base in your area, plan a special event for this month. If not, work with your local schools and plan an event to educate the public about the military and have the servicemembers’ children be part of the program. With so much of our military being from National Guard and Reserve units, the servicemembers and their children live in your communities. This is a great way to recognize the military children and help them deal with separation.

If you would like to celebrate the Month of the Military Child, an excellent resource to help you locate events and planned activities in your area is the “state search” at Operation: Military Kids (visit www.operationmilitarykids.org for details). Convene community groups to identify ways to better address the needs of military children. Volunteers might be Give an Hour participants, military parents, representatives from Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), school counselors, teachers, other Guard/Reserve Family Readiness Group representatives, Operation: Military Kids representatives, American Legion Family members, and any other individual, group, or organization with a stake in military child wellness.

Do you know a youth who has performed a heroic act of physical valor? Please nominate him or her for the Auxiliary’s Youth Hero Award. Nominations are to be completed at the unit level. The national president will sign the award certificate, and it will be returned to the unit to be presented on behalf of the unit and the national organization. Department Children & Youth chairmen should be notified of the award. Recipients are awarded a certificate and Youth Hero Award medal. One way to find a youth who might qualify for this award is to read your local newspaper or watch local news. The Children & Youth Committee would like to award at least one recipient in each department.

The Auxiliary’s Good Deed Award is an award for youth who are great examples of community service. This award is submitted on the same nomination form as the Youth Hero Award.

It doesn’t take a lot to put a smile on a child’s face. Regardless of what you do to celebrate these little heroes, make sure they understand the event or day is meant to honor and celebrate them — the children, the future of our nation!

Sharon Conatser is a 58-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She belongs to Urbana Unit 71 in Urbana, Ill.

AMERICANISM: NORTH CAROLINA CREATES A HELPFUL DEPARTMENT BROCHURE

Love of country, patriotism, responsible citizenship: Americanism. Values promoted through the American Legion Auxiliary’s Americanism Program support deploying and returning troops, educate the public on flag etiquette, and encourage civic responsibility. North Carolina Americanism Chairman Brenda and her committee are spreading the word by making a tri-fold Americanism brochure titled, AMERICANISM: What can I do to promote Americanism in my community?, available to members of their department.

Community members are encouraged to promote both Americanism and National Security by supporting our military through the Pocket Flag Project. Contact information for ordering the flags (www.pocketflagproject.com) and hints for the successful completion of the project help members successfully assemble and distribute pocket flags. Community awareness of troop deployments and welcome home ceremonies are at the heart of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. Once again, contact information provided for the Army Family Readiness Group (www.armyfrg.org) gives members an additional resource. As a finishing touch, news release templates are found on the Auxiliary website at www.ALAforVeterans.org.

Political activity and civic responsibility are encouraged through “Get Out The Vote” and “Kids Voting USA.” Voting is both a right and a responsibility that even young children understand as they practice voting. Respect for the American flag is promoted by way of proper flag etiquette, appropriate flag disposal, and flying the American flag on patriotic holidays and every day. Businesses that fly an American flag throughout the year can be recognized for their patriotism through the presentation of an appropriate certificate and special acknowledgment in the local newspaper.

What Freedom Do I Enjoy The Most? The Auxiliary’s essay contest title this year encourages students in grades three through 12 to give thoughtful consideration to the freedoms they enjoy because of the selfless sacrifice of many brave men and women. Children can be contacted through schools and local youth organizations.

The American Legion Auxiliary actively supports the Americanism programs of The American Legion. The Oratorical Contest, American Legion Baseball, and Junior Shooting Sports are valuable programs that benefit from the helping hands offered by the Auxiliary.

With a brief synopsis of Americanism programs, plus a resource list and committee contact information, North Carolina Chairman Brenda and her department’s Americanism Committee are passing pertinent information to members to promote Americanism in their communities.

Diane Duscheck is a 50-year member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 282 of Markesan, Wis.

POPPY: TIPS ON HOW TO INCREASE YOUR AUXILIARY UNIT’S REVENUES

In 1921, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion Family in memory of the soldiers who fought on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I.

Poppies are handmade by veterans and are offered — not sold — by volunteers generally around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. During 2007 and 2008, the average donation per poppy was only 45 cents. Clearly, there is a need for an increase in poppy donations.

Have you thought of these ideas on how to increase your poppy revenues?

• Plan a meeting to inform members of your distribution schedule.

• Set up your schedule with at least two people at each location, and provide contact information they will need and whom to call if they need more poppies.

• Discuss your dress attire (i.e., red or navy shirt, preferably with the Auxiliary emblem and a poppy).

• Assign someone to pick up the poppy money periodically throughout the day. Don’t leave volunteers susceptible to being robbed of the money collected.

• Be sure to get written authorization from venue management allowing you to distribute the poppies.

• Work with your unit Public Relations chairman. Ask her to write a news release announcing Poppy Day and submit it to your local media. Be sure she includes the Poppy Program Media Fact Sheet that is available on the Auxiliary website at www.ALAforVeterans.org.

• Become familiar with the poppy story and how the poppy funds are to be used.

• Produce a factsheet for distribution that lists what the money raised by the unit has gone toward. Contact local schools to translate the factsheet into other languages commonly used in your area. If your unit cannot afford this, consider a poster that your volunteers can reference.

• Invite your Legionnaires, Sons of The American Legion, and Legion Riders, and ask them to wear their shirts and caps, or even their military uniform if they still have it. If you women still have your uniform, wear it with pride.

• Invite local servicemembers (active duty, Reserve, or National Guard) to help in your distribution, and ask if they will wear their fatigues.

• Partner with the local JROTC programs and military schools to help distribute the poppies. These students may need community service hours in order to graduate.

• Don’t forget your ALA Girls State alumnae. Contact them and see if they are available to sit with your volunteers when distributing the poppies.

As Poppy chairman, I have suggested units offer poppies throughout the year, not just Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Host an event at your post home besides traveling to the different businesses within your communities. By doing this, you will raise more awareness about the Auxiliary’s Poppy Program.

And finally, when the public asks, “How much should I give?” during Poppy Days, simply answer: “Any amount is appreciated” and “Please donate whatever you can.” All funds received can be used only for helping veterans and their families.

Melanie Taylor is a 21-year member of Sotoyome Unit 111 in Healdsburg, Calif.

AEF: MAJORITY OF GRANT REQUESTS COME FROM DISASTER-RELATED LOSSES

Water is as necessary to life as breathing. We all know how refreshing a cold, clear glass of water can be and how a beautiful spring shower can be uplifting or how we enjoy the view of snow on a mountain top or a lazy river flowing slowly by. Water is refreshing, uplifting and soothing until it becomes torrents of rain, spring floods, and summer hurricanes. That same water is now a destroyer of life and possessions that can demolish all you have in a matter of minutes, leaving you with a mud- and water soaked home or business or perhaps no home at all.

This is where American Legion Auxiliary members and units can help their fellow members in a time of need. The Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF) is there to provide grants to members who have suffered a natural disaster or a hardship. The specific guidelines for applying for these grants can be found at www.ALAforVeterans.org.

Of the grant requests received from members so far this fiscal year, 64 percent have been for natural disaster-related losses. In a two month period, more than $24,000 has been awarded with more than $18,000 going to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Members can also apply for grants when a financial crisis hits and they are without resources for shelter, food, or utilities and with no other source of aid available. In some cases, grants are awarded for educational training. A personal crisis can hit any member at any time, leaving her with few options for assistance. The AEF is there for that member.

Your generosity as an individual or unit will help even more of our members. If you need help with raising money, there are several fundraising suggestions in the AEF Plan of Action how-to guides at www.ALAforVeterans.org. Of course, the old standbys also work well: bake sales, tag sales, pledges, raffles, dinners, carnivals, dances, and auctions. You know what works best in your area; perhaps it’s a chili cook off or a bakeless bake sale.

The Auxiliary Emergency Fund is only as viable as you make it. The funds awarded are provided by the donations that are received. No funds — no grants. It’s that simple. Please be generous in taking care of your fellow member by sending a donation to the Auxiliary Emergency Fund.

Ann Rehbein is a lifelong Auxiliary member. Her Junior years were in Simonson Unit 93 in O’Neill, Neb., and her senior membership is in Unit 37, Ames, Iowa.

LEGISLATIVE: MEMBERS CAN HELP WITH THESE 10 MAJOR PRIORITIES

Through the Auxiliary’s Legislative Program, we have the opportunity to support The American Legion in its legislative priorities. Members can help in a variety of ways, including personal contacts, emails, and letters. There are 10 major priorities for the 112th Congress:

• Protecting Veterans and Department of Defense (DoD) from the 2011 Deficit Reduction Law: Approximately $500 billion in additional defense cuts on top of the already approved $487 billion reduction over the next decade would be devastating to the U.S. military and a very high risk to national security.

• FY13 DoD Budget: The American Legion, by resolution, wants Congress to maintain the DoD budget at least at current levels. The proposed budget reduces current funding $5 billion. Concerns include proposed increases in enrollment fees and pharmacy co-pays in TRICARE programs; proposals to increase the medical index for upcoming years; creating a BRAC-style Retirement Modernization Commission which may propose a 401(k)-style retirement benefit, causing recruiting and retention problems; and the possible sequestration of an additional $500 billion in funding cuts to an already inadequate defense budget.

• FY13 VA Budget: The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a proposed 10.5 percent increase in this year’s budget totaling $140.3 billion. Concerns surrounding the continued reduction in funding of major and minor construction projects means VA infrastructure continues to degrade while aging and outdated medical facilities are not replaced or updated to meet current veteran healthcare needs.

• DoL-VETS: The American Legion supports keeping the VETS program in its rightful place within the Department of Labor where it is established.

• The Claims Backlog: The American Legion believes the problems are systemic and is working with Congress to create an environment that is more appropriately centered on getting the claims decided swiftly and accurately.

• Licensure and Certification: A veteran who served as a combat medic in Iraq or Afghanistan is qualified to serve as an EMT upon returning to civilian life. The American Legion is working on both national and state levels to ensure licensing and credentialing authorities give veterans the credit they deserve for the training they receive in the armed forces.

• Disabled Veterans Tax/Widow’s Tax: We encourage co-sponsorship and passage of H.R. 303 and S. 344 to ameliorate the Disabled Veterans Tax and H.R. 178 and S. 260 to correct the Widow’s Tax.

• Flag Amendment: The American Legion is committed to protecting Old Glory from acts of physical desecration.

• Stolen Valor Act: Updated versions of the Stolen Valor Act have been introduced in the House and Senate that should pass. Instead of criminalizing the act of lying about military honors, it would be a crime to profit from those lies.

• US-Canada Pipeline: The American Legion believes the construction of the US-Canada Pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast is a critical issue for the economic security of America as well as overall national security and energy independence. It is important to maintain a close relationship with your US representative or senator. In those departments with new Congressional members, please ensure that these Congressmen and women know who we are and what our priorities are.

Coral may grout is a 60-year Auxiliary member. She belongs to Eugene M. Connor Unit 193 in Winchendon, Mass.

NATIONAL SECURITY: MAY IS NATIONAL MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

Our National Security program was one of the founding programs of the American Legion Auxiliary and is based on the work of The American Legion. Today, Auxiliary members honor and thank members of our military every chance possible. But did you know that Congress has set aside an entire month to emphasize the great sacrifices our troops make? Since 1999, May has been designated National Military Appreciation Month.

Imagine this great opportunity for your unit to take a leadership role in your community by spearheading awareness. In recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, we should ask ourselves: Is there something more I can be doing to better serve our nation’s warriors? Is someone else doing something that I should consider doing? What works and what doesn’t?

Several dates in May have special designations, such as May 10: Military Spouses Day, May 18: Armed Forces Day, and May 27: Memorial Day. Consider activities such as flying the flag from the beginning of May until Flag Day on June 14; helping the local library or school library develop a presentation to recognize troops; invite servicemembers and their families to speak at a unit meeting; or have a dinner honoring servicemembers and their families and presenting them with certificates of appreciation and Blue Star Banners.

Other activities which make a difference include making a large card of appreciation signed by unit members then posted at a local store for others to sign; working with local media by proposing to highlight area active duty families as an interest series like “Profiles in Service;” and recognizing students in ROTC programs.

American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz is asking his fellow Legionnaires to focus on Operation Comfort Warriors as part of the Legion’s National Security Program. Donations to this program provide much needed items to our servicemen and women, particularly those who have been wounded or injured. Learn more by visiting www.legion.org/ocw.

Operation Comfort Warriors is a great idea and a great program. Are there others? Of course there are, and we should explore them, keeping in mind that it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. We don’t need to replace great programs, but we do want to ensure that all of our heroes are being served.

So let’s use May as a time to share our successes and try new initiatives to better serve our troops.

Mary Davis is a 36-year member. She belongs to Pat Tillman Memorial Unit 53 in Dupont, Wash.

AFFORDABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR ALA STAFF, VOLUNTEERS

American Legion Auxiliary departments are strongly advised to conduct background checks on staff and volunteers who are involved in youth programs such as ALA Girls State and Junior member activities. At the annual ALA Girls State Directors Conference in fall 2012, attendees in a joint session with The American Legion Boys State directors were enlightened by a presentation about background checks. Counsel General strongly advises that our organizations be vigilant in conducting background checks for anyone working with children in an Auxiliary or Legion program. We understand that until now, cost has been a factor in determining the number of background checks ordered by departments.

Now, as a result of a recent nationwide agreement between The American Legion and Protect Youth Sports (PYS), one of the nation’s premier background screening providers, the American Legion Auxiliary is able to offer departments an opportunity to take advantage of special negotiated pricing and order background checks at a significantly discounted rate. Each department will be responsible for contracting separately with PYS for their background screening services. The $8 and $12 pricing is approximately 60-75 percent less than most of us are currently being charged for such services.

A basic background check package (most states will be able to utilize this package) will cost $8 per screening and includes the following:

• Social Security number verification and address history trace

• National Criminal Database Search with re-verification of positive records

• National Sex Offender Registry Search including a national search of all alias names

A “plus package” will cost $12 per screening and includes everything in the basic package above with the addition of one county or statewide court search, plus mandatory court fees. Additional court searches are $10 plus mandatory court fees. In some states, it will be necessary to order the plus package.

To learn more about discount pricing through Protect Youth Sports, contact them at 1-877-319-5587 or visit www.protectyouthsports.com.

Departments wishing to take advantage of this special pricing should work directly with PYS. Bruce Sprowl, senior regional sales manager at Protect Youth Sports, is the Legion’s and Auxiliary’s contact and will be reaching out to departments. The national organization negotiated the special pricing, but departments will be responsible for pursuing a contract between the department and PYS.

This is a great deal, and we urge departments plus units that conduct youth programs independently to take advantage of the pricing. We strongly advise you do background checks on your volunteers working your ALA Girls State and Junior programs.

SCHOLARSHIP NEWS

AUXILIARY SCHOLARSHIPS DUE MARCH 1; THE AMERICAN LEGION DISCONTINUES NEED A LIFT? HANDBOOK

Know someone who’s looking for a scholarship associated with the American Legion Auxiliary’s mission of serving veterans, the military, and their families? Time and time again we hear about the difference an American Legion Auxiliary scholarship has made in a person’s life, providing unimagined experiences and opening up a world of opportunities.

Our three premiere scholarships include the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship, Spirit of Youth Scholarship for Junior Members, and the Non-Traditional Student Scholarship. The Auxiliary supports a number of scholarship programs that benefit veterans, the children of our veterans, and members of The American Legion Family.

To apply for an American Legion Auxiliary scholarship, check out www.alaforveterans.org for eligibility requirements, deadlines, and application forms. Most scholarship applications are due March 1. * * * Time has dramatically changed the way we access information. After 62 years of publishing its financial aid guide for veterans, veterans’ dependents, and Legion Family members, The American Legion has discontinued production of its Need A Lift? handbook and CDROM. Individuals can now easily search the Internet on their own for available scholarships and college information.

The decision to discontinue the publication was made by the Legion’s national Americanism and national Finance commissions during the 2012 Fall Meetings in Indianapolis.

Communication about the discontinuation of this handbook is being disseminated at the department, district, and post levels by the Legion’s Americanism and Children & Youth Division. The Legion asks that Auxiliary members also please help spread the word.

RESOURCE PORTAL

VETERANS, MILITARY, AND THEIR FAMILIES

One of the major initiatives of the Long Range Strategic Planning committee was the development of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Veterans and Military Families Resource Portal. Check out www.ALAforveterans.org to discover the many opportunities that exist to help our veterans, the military, and their families.

Portal categories:

• Career, Training & Education

• Financial & Legal Support

• Family, Community & Social Services

• Health & Wellness

Seeing a need and meeting a need require different sets of skills. The ALA’s Resource Portal does both for those who have sacrificed so much.

FEBRUARY

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:12

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another.

Why would a 10-year-old girl tie a note to a helium-filled balloon and send it on its way to heaven? According to columnist Bob Greene, a grieving Illinois girl named Sarah sent a letter to her grandfather, who had died before she could have one last visit with him. The envelope was addressed to “Grandpa Bernie, in Heaven up high.” It represented a little girl’s expression of love and hope that somehow her grandfather would read it.

If you are moved by this girl’s love for her grandfather, then what about those we love? What about our veterans? What about our troops fighting abroad? The scripture passage above expresses the lasting value of relationships. It expresses deep love and encourages us to increase our love for one another. Chaplains George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling, and John P. Washington expressed this deep love, faith, and encouragement aboard the USAT Dorchester that frigid last morning, Feb. 3, 1943. As Auxiliary members, we must also express deep love and encouragement to our veterans and children in need. It is also important that we show this same love to the residents of our communities.

A familiar song by a great singer who is also my former high school classmate, says, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” EVERYTHING!

PRAYER: God, teach us the lesson of loving — the love You are asking for today. Then help us to love one another. God, help us to see that people, their faith, and their love are what count in life. Help us to show our love, to those who are going through disastrous and stressful times. We pray that You will strengthen and protect our military personnel. We ask that they may return safely to serve You and our country. We also pray for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy and at Sandy Hook Elementary School. May they receive the love and comfort that they are in need of. For this, we most earnestly pray and thank you. Amen.

Love increases as we give it away.

MARCH

Scripture: Ephesians 4:2-3

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Effort, sweat, and dedication seem to have become the profanity of the western world. God is reaching out with His truth and reminds us that relationships on earth are going to require a lot of effort, gritty love, personal sacrifice, and rigorous determination. If we read the prayer for unity in John 17, how could we not make every effort to keep our relationship with God’s people loving and patient? Our founders and other early members of our organization came together for the call to community service. They volunteered their whole lives to help people in need. This included not only volunteering their time but also their hearts, their spirits, and their professional prosperity. During this month, I ask you to remember our purpose to help those in our communities.

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, forgive my impatience with others and lack of forgiveness for them. Stir Your Spirit within me to curb my tongue, soften my heart, and extend more of an effort to others who need Your blessing. Please use me to be a peacemaker in Your Kingdom, O God. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

APRIL

Scripture: Psalm 127:3

Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.

While on a recent trip, I read a story that reminded me how precious our children and young people should be to us. The story reflected a young girl’s fondest memory of the morning she broke her mother’s “priceless” crystal.

Mary’s mother was having a party. She had taken her fine crystal from the cupboard and carefully washed it and placed it on the table. The crystal represented the only valuable material possession her mother owned, and it was used only on special occasions.

In her rush to get things ready for her guests, the girl’s mother said to her young daughter, “Would you please find some place that’s not underfoot?” So, the girl crawled underneath the table. Unfortunately, she kicked the leg of the table, and the crystal crashed to the floor. “Crystal exploded like a shrapnel.” The girl had destroyed the most elegant thing her mother possessed.

“I’m so sorry,” the little girl sobbed. Her mother gathered her in her arms and whispered, “Don’t cry, honey. You are far more valuable to me than the crystal.”

Children are indeed our most valuable possessions, more precious than anything we could ever buy or earn. In this the month that we emphasize children and youth, I ask: Do your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren know how precious they are to you? It doesn’t matter what their age is. Why not tell them today?

PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, bless us, we pray, as we strive to help children in some special way. Be with us and guide us as we endeavor to promote our programs for the young. Instill in our hearts the will to serve children, as well as our veterans. These things we ask in Thy holy name. Amen.

Our children are a heritage, a blessing from the Lord. They bring a richness to our lives... in each, a treasure stored. — Fasick

Little children are of great value to God.
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