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(From left) Patrick Nettie, age 9, and Aaron Posey, age 9, duel it out in a tournament chess game at the Taiyo Recreation Center at Yokota Air Base.
(From left) Patrick Nettie, age 9, and Aaron Posey, age 9, duel it out in a tournament chess game at the Taiyo Recreation Center at Yokota Air Base. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

Since 1983, the U.S. military has honored its children during April.

The “Month of the Military Child” commemorates the unique circumstances military children face, and emphasizes the need to help them adjust to those challenges.

“It’s sometimes easy to forget that children are also affected by the military lifestyle. April is reserved to appreciate what those young people go through and to celebrate their lives, as well as their spirit,” Dr. Gwen Taylor, head of the Navy Child Development Program Section, said in a statement.

April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and an opportune time to review the warning signs of child abuse, base officials say.

Signs include nervousness and aggression toward adults, dramatic changes in personality and unexplained bruises, according to Prevent Child Abuse America.

Military bases across the Pacific are celebrating children this month. Here’s a look at the events planned:

Misawa Air Base

The Family Support Center holds a “Kids and Money” class on April 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It’s open to parents who want to teach their children about money.

Topics include allowance and other ways to earn money, goal setting, spending wisely, understanding the time value of money (savings and investing) and debt management.

For more information, contact the Family Support Center at DSN 226-4735.

Camp Zama

The Army Community Service plans two contests for children and teens.

Children in kindergarten through sixth grade can submit entries for an art contest depicting a “safe military community.” Essay entries for students in grades 7-12 should be on the theme “Building safe communities prevents child abuse.”

Submissions are limited to one per student and must be turned in to the ACS no later than Thursday. The top three finishers will be honored April 20 at 5 p.m.

ACS also is sponsoring a Children’s Health and Safety Fair on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Dewey Park. If it rains, the event will take place at the Community Cultural Center.

For more information, call the ACS at DSN 263-4782.

Atsugi Naval Air Facility

The infant and toddler playgroups within the Fleet and Family Support Center’s New Parent Support Program each will have a special theme throughout the month. For more information, call the New Parent Support Program at DSN 264-4186.

Yokosuka Naval Base

Shadow Day is set for Thursday, when children will shadow people in various occupations across the base. Officials expect 80-90 participants to join organizations for the day. For information, call Youth Outreach Coordinator Nomsa Sibeko-Brown at DSN 243-9907.

April 30 - Month of the Military Child Health Fair. Health promotion organizations will have information booths on children and healthy living from 1-3 p.m. in the courtyard by the commissary. Kinnick High School drama students will stage skits.

Sasebo Naval Base

April 12-18: Display of artwork by base youths at the Harbor View Club.

April 13: Special Month of the Military Child Buffet at the Harbor View Club, 5-9 p.m.

April 16: Main Base and Hario Youth Talent Show, Youth Center, 3-6 p.m.; Teen Centers, Movie Night, 7-9 p.m.; Pre-Teen Centers, Freaky Friday Dance, 6-8 p.m.

April 17: Teen Center, Canal City Shopping Trip, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

April 18: Free coloring books at Sunday brunch, Harbor View Club, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

April 23: Hario Pre-Teen Center, Cooking Project, 5-7 p.m.

April 24: Youth Centers, Acorn Village Trip, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Pre-Teen and Teen Centers, Birthday Bash, 5 p.m.

April 29: Hario Teen Center, Creative Writing, 6-8 p.m.

April 30: Teen Centers, Pool Tournament, 6-8 p.m.

For more information, call Lynn Holmes at DSN 252-8842.

Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station

April 13: “Kids Healthy Snacks” Cooking Class, 6-7 p.m., IronWorks Wellness Room. For information, call DSN 253-6359; “Feeding Picky Eaters,” Parent Education Seminar, noon-1 p.m., CDC. For information, call DSN 253-4876.

April 14: “Stress Management,” Parent Education Seminar, noon-1 p.m., CDC. For information, call DSN 253-4876.

April 17: Youth Center New Zealand Village Trip, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call DSN 253-4769.

April 19-23: Group Swim Lessons for Levels 3 and 4, IronWorks Indoor Pool. For information, call DSN 253-4966.

April 20: Kids Mini Health Fair Tuesday Tune Up, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Crossroads Mall. For information, call DSN 253-6359.

April 21: “Filial Therapy,” Parent Education Seminar, noon-1 p.m., CDC. For information, call DSN 253-4876.

April 28: “Healthy Eating on Budget,” Parent Education Seminar, noon-1 p.m., CDC. For information, call DSN 253-4876.

Helpful sites

For more information on programs designed for military children, check out the following Web sites:

• Military Student: www.militarystudent.org

• Military Child: www.militarychild.org

• Military Children and Youth: www.mfrc-dodqol.org/mcy/

• Military Teens on the Move: www.dod.mil/mtom/t3.htm

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