- Children of military veterans and those currently serving have their own tour of duty
- Many organizations are focused on helping military families cope before, during and after deployment
- Beyond volunteering, simple words and actions can make a big difference for military families
(CNN)When people choose to serve in our armed forces, it's not just a day job. It's a way of life that affects the whole family.
Children of veterans and those still serving face a unique set of challenges. When your parents are in the military, you don't live in places, you're stationed. And your parents don't go on business trips, they're deployed. Many also return home with both visible and invisible wounds of war.
Every family has a story and a unique set of circumstances, but there are simple ways you can support them and, in turn, support all men and women in uniform. First, you can say thank you and recognize their sacrifice. Then, think local, in your own neighborhood. Offer to mow the lawn for a family, babysit or just a call to check in. Small actions can make a big impact for a family struggling on the home front.
Several organizations are also focused on assisting military families and you can get involved.
- Battalion Buddies -- When Mom or Dad wears combat boots, sometimes what a child may need is a hug or at least something to hold. Operation Gratitude has a program called Battalion Buddies that provides special stuffed toys to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel as their units get ready to deploy. You can also write letters to the families and children.
- Camp Corral -- Many people have great memories of summer camp. But at this camp, military kids have a chance to have fun and be with other children who understand what it's like to have a parent in the armed forces. Children can apply to attend the camps free. You can get involved by volunteering at a camp or helping to establish a camp in your area.
- Comfort Crew for Military Kids -- Returning from deployment can be tough on the whole family. The Comfort Crew has programs designed to help both the deployment and the homecoming. Families can access many resources and tools to help kids and families cope with military service or when a parent is injured or killed in the line of duty.
- The Fisher House -- Fisher House Foundation has homes near military and VA medical centers across the country. Military and veterans' families can stay at the homes for free while loved ones are receiving treatment. You can donate frequent flyer miles or hotel points to help military families travel and stay where there is no Fisher House.
- Operation Homefront -- For the families of those still serving, keeping it all together stateside can be tough. Operation Homefront is an organization focused on the specific needs of military families, from helping pay a bill or finding a place to stay to getting diapers.
These are just a few of the ways to get involved to help military families. For more ways to Impact Your World, go to CNN.com/impact.