Purpose: The purpose of the Children & Youth Committee is to work collaboratively with The American Legion to promote programs that protect, care for, and support children and youth, especially those of our military and veterans. Standing Rules 6, Core National Standing Committees
Key Program Statements
- The Children & Youth program emphasizes protecting, caring for, and supporting children and youth, particularly those of veterans’ and military families.
- To recognize and reward the positive actions of our children and youth, the American Legion Auxiliary has two special national awards bestowed to youth nominated by units: the Youth Hero Award and the Good Deed Award.
- Kids of Deployed are Heroes 2 (KDH2) is an initiative honoring military children who may be experiencing a separation from one or both parents, whether deployed to a war zone, having a short tour or on an extended temporary duty assignment.
- The American Legion Auxiliary Children & Youth program strives to support and promote the Children & Youth program of The American Legion.
Click HERE for the Department of NJ Children and Youth Report Form
Click HERE for link to Youth Hero and Good Deed Award Nomination Form
The ALA Youth Hero award recognizes children who place themselves in difficult circumstances to help others, typically demonstrating a physical act of valor. These young people exemplify the motto Service Not Self. They deserve to be recognized for their actions.
Recently on social media, there have been stories of young teens racing into burning buildings to help elderly residents to safety. If you see a story like this, investigate its source, and if true, make sure to submit the deserving youth for the award and recognition.
It might be that the act doesn’t quite meet the requirements of the ALA Youth Hero Award; the American Legion Auxiliary Good Deed Award could potentially fit the bill.
Simply put, this award is for showing exceptional kindness to another by demonstrating a leadership role in community service. Did a youth stand up to a bully in school while coming to the aid of the bullied victim? This requires courage and compassion. Our youth should be commended for choosing not to walk away or ignore the situation, but to stand up for someone who was being bullied.
Or perhaps you know of a teenager who regularly checks in on an elderly neighbor to see how she is doing. In winter, the teen shovels the neighbor’s walk when it snows. These are good deeds and deserving of consideration for the ALA Good Deed Award.
The ALA Good Deed Award is given to those children who show kindness and thoughtfulness to others without expecting anything in return. There have been such kind acts on social media recently.
Once identified, the next step requires a commitment from all of us — make sure to let a local unit know so they can submit the award nomination form; perhaps you need to bring it up at your own unit meeting. So, I challenge all of you to keep your eyes open and share what you find.
Let’s get out there and use the tools at our disposal — social media, personal contact, news media, or just a conversation with a friend to find these youth heroes and thoughtful children so that they might receive the recognition they deserve.
And of course, once you have submitted a youth and have the award back in your hands for presentation, please make a big “to do” of it! Celebrate the child’s success. Let your local media outlets know through use of the Youth Hero Award news release template as well as social media. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful event if the child was recognized throughout the community? Those presenting, be sure to wear ALA branded attire. A win/win for all!