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January 26, 2011

First Lady to Highlight a Commitment to Military Families on Oprah


This Thursday, January 27, First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the Obama administration's national campaign for supporting military families.

"We're pleased that Michelle Obama is highlighting an issue on which we have been focused for several years — the needs of the children and families of our nation's veterans, whose daily service is often overlooked," says Martin LeBlanc, director of the Sierra Club's Youth Initiatives.

Military children with parents deployed overseas are more than twice as likely as the general public to develop psychological problems, but studies suggest that spending time outdoors in green spaces can markedly improve these kids' mental and physical health. The Sierra Club's Military Families Outdoors program offers outdoor experiences that provide respite and renewal for thousands of military kids every year.

"We're proud to have supported outdoor experiences for over 20,000 children of military families since 2006," says Tiffany Saleh, the Club's National Youth Outreach representative. The Sierra Club's partnerships with the National Military Family Association's Operation Purple camps and the Armed Services YMCA offer a free week of summer fun for military kids with parents who have been, are currently, or will be deployed.

"The freedom of these outdoor settings offers moments of camaraderie, exploration, and healing for these children," says National Youth Programs representative Jackie Ostfeld. "These are inspiring experiences in which the Sierra Club is honored to have played a part." Hear what some of the kids who've participated have to say in this short video, Red, White, and Green.

"The Club's commitment to military children families continues stronger than ever in 2011," says LeBlanc, "and we applaud the First Lady for highlighting this important issue. Through this work, we honor those who serve our country by choice and by circumstance, who are heroes of all ages."

Update: Here's a clip:



-- Tom Valtin


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