Tools that Encourage Resiliency
Military families continue to endure high rates of separation from their service members. In Alaska, up to 3,500 troops are expected to deploy in the next year alone. In addition to deployments, military service demands long and unpredictable hours, field training and exercises, and temporary duty assignments. With 42 percent of military families reporting duty-related separations of more than 6 months in an 18-month period, the demands of military service place unique stresses on military families that are infrequently experienced by their civilian counterparts.
Children are often the most impacted by the lengthy separations and op-tempo of military duty. Not only do military children endure the duty-related absence of one of the most important people in their lives, they may also feel the impact of additional stressors affecting their parents.
The Armed Services YMCA of Alaska strives to make deployments as easy as possible on military families. One of the ways we do this is through Operation Kid Comfort. Upon request, we provide every child, age 6 and under, with an original quilt made from photos submitted by his or her parent. For children age 7 and older, a standard-size, custom pillow case is made. Each keepsake is hand-made by a volunteer and donated with love and good wishes for the recipient child. These quilts bring can help serve as a surrogate for a deployed parent by providing warmth, memories, and comfort to children who are separated from their deployed parent.
- Quilts are made for children, age newborn to age 6.
- Each quilt includes up to nine (9) photos depicting favorite memories of, or with, the deploying parent.
- A standard-size pillow case is made for children age seven (7) and up.
- Each pillow case will include up to five (5) photos depicting favorite memories of, or with, the deploying parent.
- Quilts/pillow cases are limited to one per child.
- Volunteer quilters provide the materials and talent used to create these keepsakes; as such, we cannot accept requests for customization (color, pattern, size, etc).
- Families are not required to wait to submit a request until the service member is actively deployed. Requests can be submitted once orders for deployment have been issued.
- The ASYMCA is not able to cover shipping costs. Completed projects must be picked up at your nearest ASYMCA of Alaska location.
WHO CAN APPLY?
- Requests must be submitted by an active duty, guard, or reserve service member with current orders to deploy, or by one of their immediate family members.
- This program is open to all service members, regardless of rank or service branch.
- The deploying service member must be stationed in Alaska during the time of deployment. (If you do not meet this criteria, please visit the National ASYMCA program page here to make a request through the ASYMCA branch nearest you).
- If your military family does not meet the deployment criteria, but is otherwise subject to separation from your service member for six (6) consecutive months or more, please contact us here to inquire about eligibility.
HOW TO APPLY:
- Choose the appropriate number of photos to submit for your child's quilt or pillow case (up to nine (9) photos per quilt, or five (5) photos for pillow cases). These photos must depict the deploying service member. We suggest choosing photos that capture memories your child can relate to; family activities; the service member on duty or off, etc.
- Please make sure the photos you submit are high-quality enough that they will print clear and sharp at approximately 8" x 10".
- Once you have organized your photos, please click the link below to complete the request form.