Arlington, VA – Military children move an average of 6-9 times between Kindergarten and 12th grade, usually attending multiple schools during that time. A new book is out to honor these children, the sacrifices they make, as well as raise awareness among civilian children and teachers about lives of their military-connected peers.
“The Little CHAMPS” follows the children of five servicemembers, each representing a branch of the military, as they cope with deployments, saying goodbye, and when a parent returns home wounded. The book avoids the commonly referenced term “military brats” instead referring to the children as “CHAMPS: Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel”. The five “CHAMPS” endure issues common to life as a military child from deployment to when a parent returns home wounded. The book concludes with lyrics for “The Little CHAMPS” song reminding children that “goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean we’ll miss you, until we meet again!”
“It is an honor to launch ‘The Little CHAMPS’ book and public health initiative with the USO’s ardent support,” said Debbie Fink. “From ‘The Little CHAMPS’ initiative’s inception to fruition, the USO and our other partners have shared in its vision and played an ongoing part in its development.”
The USO is supporting the release of “The Little CHAMPS” as part of the Grant a Wish for Our Heroes campaign honoring those who have exemplified service, sacrifice and strength for our country. The USO will provide 6,000 copies of “The Little CHAMPS” to USO Centers around the world. In addition, the USO is welcoming Debbie Fink to USO Centers and military schools to read the book, teach the song and discuss what makes them “CHAMPS.”
“The USO recognizes that our nation’s littlest heroes are often those that need us most,” said Susan Thomas, Vice President, USO Warrior & Family Care. “With the release of ‘The Little CHAMPS’ we hope to grant wishes for these future leaders by acknowledging their sacrifice and raising awareness for the challenges they face.”
“The Little CHAMPS” is authored by mother-daughter team Debbie and Jennifer Fink. Debbie is an educator and performer who has written numerous books and scripts. She most recently toured with the USO last year performing for more than 4,000 military children living in Germany for Operation Thanksgiving Eagle. Debbie’s daughter Jennifer is currently studying Public Health and Military Studies at the University of Maryland and has worked for several military nonprofit organizations and most recently founded “Operation Champs” on the University of Maryland campus. The book is illustrated by Navy Veteran, and former President and CEO of the National Veterans Business Development Corporation, Walter Blackwell.
The following organizations also assisted with the release of “The Little CHAMPS”: Military Child Education Coalition, American Red Cross, United Through Reading, AUSA Family Programs, Operation Homefront, Operation Champs, National Military Family Association, and Armed Services YMCA.
For more information about “The Little Champs” visit http://www.thelittlechamps.org.
For more information about the USO visit http://www.uso.org.
“The Little CHAMPS” release and activities for military children can also be found on twitter by following hashtag #LittleChamps!
Click here for photos from Debbie Fink’s reading of “The Little CHAMPS” with the USO at a military school in Maryland.
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About the USO
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. All of our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, Clear Channel, The Coca-Cola Company, jcpenney, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Lowe’s, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.