On Saturday, April 29th in honor of Month of the Military Child, the First Lady hosted the first-ever Joining Forces Military Kids Workout on the South Lawn of the White House to highlight the importance of building connections between military and civilian communities, and demonstrate the many ways to celebrate military-connected children.
The workout was led by Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB), an organization dedicated to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of veterans and service members while building connection with communities, and Will B. Reynolds III, U.S. Army veteran and founding board member of Team RWB. This workout included veterans, service members, their families and children, caregivers, and survivors, as well as members of community-based workout groups, and Biden-Harris Administration officials and staff. The workout was accessible and adaptable for children and individuals of all ages and skill levels.
Lady has prioritized military-connected and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors through the Joining Forces initiative since day one of the Biden-Harris Administration, including the following in support of military-connected children:
- April 2023: Dr. Biden appeared on Live with Ryan and Kelly to discuss her Joining Forces initiative and ways people can support military-connected children throughout Month of the Military Child.
- April 2023: In collaboration with the Departments of Defense, Education, and Veterans Affairs, Joining Forces published a Month of the Military Child toolkit to help build support for military-connected students in the classroom. With activities for elementary, middle, and high school students, the toolkit assists educators and school administrators as they form a greater understanding of the experience of military-connected children.
- April 2023: In continuing her tradition of highlighting the experiences of military-connected children through art in the East Wing of the White House, the First Lady featured an art installation of ten ‘suitcases’ designed by military and veteran children to reflect their journeys as military-connected families. This year’s installation was inspired by the poem ‘My Military Suitcase,’ written by a 4th grader from a U.S. Marine Corps family featured in last year’s Month of the Military Child art display.
- March 2023: Ahead of Month of the Military Child, Dr. Biden visited Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Greene County, Ohio, to meet with military families. During the visit, Dr. Biden toured a local Purple Star elementary school supporting military-connected children and hosted a listening session with military parents.
- November 2022: Dr. Biden convened National Guard leaders for a roundtable discussion in the Roosevelt Room featuring children of National Guard members sharing their experiences and the role of their communities and schools in their well-being.
- October 2022: Dr. Biden, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough celebrated the children who help care for a wounded, ill, or injured military or veteran parents or guardians at a Hidden Helpers coalition event in Seattle.
- April 2022: The First Lady featured a temporary installation to the public tour route of the White House: artwork created by military-connected children across the country and those stationed around the world. The installation featured over 20 pieces of artwork sourced by the Military Child Education Coalition and Kids Rank.
- April 2022: The First Lady and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Knob Noster Public Schools’ Whiteman Elementary School, located on Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the 509th Bomb Wing and attended Knob Noster High School’s “Purple Up Pep Assembly.”
- November 2021: First Lady Jill Biden, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, alongside the Hidden Helpers Coalition of more than 50 public and private sector organizations, announced a series of commitments to support children in military or veteran caregiving families. This marked a significant and unprecedented leap forward in how America supports its more than 2.3 million military-connected caregiver children and youth.
- April 2021: The First Lady celebrated over two million military-connected children in the United States and paid tribute to military kids by encouraging Americans to “Purple Up!” and wear purple, the color representing support for every branch of service.
About Joining Forces
Joining Forces is the First Lady’s initiative to support those who also serve: military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. The First Lady’s work and priorities of Joining Forces are guided by the life experiences and the perspectives shared during listening sessions with military-connected families.
Dr. Biden has visited over 25 military installations; worked with Joining Forces partners to support over 30 events with the military-connected community; and helped coordinate the Administration’s efforts to increase and raise awareness of resources and support for military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.
Key Facts About Military Connected-Children
- There are more than 2 million military-connected children whose parents are active-duty service members, National Guard or reservists, or veterans.
- Military-connected children move on average six to nine times during their K-12 education and change schools three times more often than their civilian peers.
- Military-connected children live in every zip code in America.