If you haven’t been properly thankful this November (and there could be a lot of reasons for that), I can solve your problem. My solution deftly combines November’s two important holidays: Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. My solution is a way to say thank-you to our nation’s military families, whose loved ones are serving away from home during this month when the rest of us can be together.
It will take you only a few minutes to go to the website for United Through Reading and see what I am talking about. UTR is a nonprofit organization that has figured out a simple, but powerful, way to keep military families better connected during a mother’s or father’s long deployment. At 262 locations around the world last year, UTR set up the technical facilities to record videos of military service members as they read books aloud to their kids at home. Once recorded, the videos were emailed or mailed home.
What could make more sense and be any easier or cheaper to do? While everyone knows intuitively that this idea would absolutely work, here are some statements about the program’s impact, as quoted from UTR’s website:
Children’s anxieties fade.
Service members become part of daily life at home.
Spouses are supported because parenting is shared.
Homecomings begin with children welcoming a familiar parent, not a stranger.
Children learn to love books and reading.
And, in case you were wondering, UTR is the recipient of the 2016 Community Service Hero Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the 2015 American Prize of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program. So, UTR is doing something right.
Parents of kids of all ages: If you are thankful that your family was together on Thanksgiving, if you are grateful that there are military service members following in a long tradition of protecting and preserving, if you are proud that you had a family member in the military, or if you believe that hearing a bedtime story from a faraway parent is something that all kids deserve, then go to UTR’s website.
First, watch a video or two of families telling about their own experiences with UTR, if you need any more persuading. Then, donate. I did—in honor of my mother and father, my father-in-law, my uncle, and my cousin, who served with honor. This is one great way to give thanks before November ends.