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For Youth & Teens – Resources

As a service member, you have many resources available to help your military family thrive and support your child’s education. This list of resources for children and youth can connect your family to opportunities that can prepare your children for success — both in their education and beyond.

School Liaison Program

Received PCS orders? Before you go, contact your school liaison.

Find out how a school liaison can help you and your family navigate school selection, youth sponsorship and more.

  • School liaisons serve as the primary link between school and school district, commanders and parents. They serve as the installation subject matter experts for educational support for military-connected children in pre-K through grade 12.
  • School liaisons work with families to help them navigate a wide range of needs including transition support (school districts and boundaries), alternative schooling options/support (private, parochial, charter and home school), deployment support, college, career and military readiness, special education, scholarship and grant resources, and Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission compliance support.
  • The School Liaison Program is provided at no cost to all Defense Department identification card holders, educators who service military students from pre-K through grade 12, and community partners.
  • The School Liaison Program was created to provide targeted, professional support at all military installations to support military families through educational challenges associated with transition, deployment and reintegration and to help military children thrive academically, socially and emotionally, regardless of duty station, deployments or transition status.
  • Learn more about the School Liaison Program. Find your installation’s school liaison office contact information on Military Installations.

Adoption, foster care and parenting resources

Whether you’re growing your family through adoption or foster care or looking for parenting resources to support your child’s learning and development, you can depend on Military OneSource for both guidance and information you need to make the process go more smoothly and for ongoing parenting support of your family.

  • Adoption and Foster Care — The Essentials: Discover how the Defense Department and Military OneSource can support if you are thinking about foster care and adoption. Military OneSource consultants can help you understand the aspects of adoption and fostering that are unique to military life, the different types of adoption, financial benefits, how to find information on the ins and outs of home studies and more.
  • Military Parent Resource Center: Explore Military OneSource’s most popular go-to resources that military parents use, conveniently organized by age for infants to preschoolers, school-age children, and youth and teens.

Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA

  • DODEA is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and managing educational programs for pre-K through 12th grade on behalf of the DOD, ensuring that all school-age children of military families receive quality education.
  • More than 60,000 military children are enrolled in 160 DODEA schools around the world. DODEA schools provide a strong foundation for military-connected children.
  • The DODEA website offers a parent resources section with a wide variety of online educational activities and programs to support children of all ages, including audiobooks, science labs and more. Parents can also find parent guides and information on what to expect in grade school and high school.
  • Military families living overseas may qualify for Sure Start, a full-day preschool program offered to command-sponsored eligible military families. The program, open to preschoolers starting at 4 years of age, provides hands-on, interactive experiences and activities that focus on interest areas such as computers, dramatic play, toys and games, sand and water, library, outdoors, music and movement, cooking, discovery, art and blocks.

Installation youth programs

Eligible service members, DOD civilians and family members can access installation youth programs. A variety of military youth and teen programs are available at installation youth centers. Typical offerings include:

  • Computer labs, to allow for healthy, monitored exploration of technology
  • Social activities, such as supervised field trips to local attractions and dances
  • Sports and fitness programs, such as soccer and basketball
  • Open recreation, for youths to safely hang out and have fun
  • Volunteer and employment listings, to find that perfect after-school job or volunteer position
  • Instructional classes, such as martial arts, gymnastics, music and dance
  • 4-H Military Partnerships, offering a variety of clubs in a safe and fun environment, such as gardening, cooking, photography and raising animals that include civic engagement and promote healthy living
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which the military services partner with to help support children of military families (Installation youth centers are BGCA-affiliated and offer many of the traditional BGCA programs such as Youth of the Year, Power Hour and Smart Girls. Additionally, youth that are not located near an installation can obtain a membership to their local Boys & Girls Club at no cost through the partnership’s Mission: Youth Outreach program.)

Military Kids Connect

Military Kids Connect offers engaging tools and games. It also helps children, preteens and teens prepare for the challenges around family transitions. The site has resources parents and teachers may appreciate as well.

Teen Adventure Camps

Military Teen Adventure Camps are available across the United States, from Washington to New York. These high-energy camps can be great options for teens interested in adding some excitement to their summer. Whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, winter camping, backpacking, exploring the environment, running ropes courses and practicing wilderness skills are just some of the activities military teens can do. These experiences build leadership, self-confidence and teamwork skills while engaging with the outdoors.

Operation Purple® Camp

Operation Purple® Camp from the National Military Family Association is a free week of summer fun open to military-connected children from all service branches including the Coast Guard, National Guard and reserves, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Priority, however, goes to children who will have a parent or guardian deployed. The summer camping experience is complete with arts and crafts as well as outdoor activities like canoeing, swimming and archery. Campers thrive in an environment with fully trained counselors who are experienced in helping children adapt and overcome the stressors of military life. Campers make lifelong friends who understand what it’s like for a parent to serve in the military. Operation Purple Family Retreats® are also available to give military families a chance to reconnect and bond.

Read more about additional DOD-sponsored camps available to military-connected children.

DOD MWR Libraries

A number of databases and resources are available as part of the DOD MWR Libraries. This free service for military members and their families has something to offer at every age. Just log into your Military OneSource account or create a username and password to get started.

For children

  • Bookflix: pairs fictional video storybooks with related nonfiction e-books, reinforcing early reading skills and helping children gain real-world knowledge
  • Explora Primary: provides a database of colorful and fun resources that help children in kindergarten through fifth grade learn about animals, music, health, history, people and places, science, math and sports
  • Gale in Context: Elementary: introduces elementary students to database searching with age-appropriate curriculum-related resources
  • Gale in Context: Middle School: provides age-appropriate videos, newspapers, magazines, primary sources and more for students to use in completing assignments
  • National Geographic Kids: provides children ages 6-14 with age-appropriate content on science, nature, culture, archaeology and space
  • NoveList Plus K-8: offers books that match children’s reading level and interests
  • for military children: provides online tutoring and homework help from expert tutors in more than 16 subjects
  • World Book Online: offers a collection of resources for all ages and reading levels

DOD MWR Summer Reading Program

  • Students who keep reading in the summer score higher on achievement tests than nonreaders. Inspire literacy and lifelong learning by enrolling your children in the DOD MWR Summer Reading Program. Contact the program at 877-565-1896.

Youth employment and career preparation

Military OneSource can connect you to valuable information to prepare your teen for the future:

Non-medical counseling

Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program also offer free non-medical counseling options for military children and youth. Whether your child needs support handling low self-esteem, behavioral problems or changes at home, trained counselors understand the challenges military children face, especially during transition periods like deployment and PCS moves.

Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors are located in almost every installation child development and youth center and many schools with high concentrations of military-connected students. To schedule a free and confidential session — whether it’s for an education consultation, non-medical counseling or other assistance your children may need — contact your installation child and youth programs for your local MFLC’s phone number or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, view for overseas calling options or schedule a live chat 24/7. Appointments are available seven days a week for your family’s convenience.

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.