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First lady recommits to helping military children, families

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of then-Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at a Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership event in Washington, Oct. 17, 2016. On Wednesday, First Lady Jill Biden held a listening session Wednesday as part of her plan to recommit to military families.

LISA FERDINANDO/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – First Lady Jill Biden held a listening session Wednesday as part of her plan to recommit to military families.

Biden is renewing her Joining Forces initiative, which she started with former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011 to help military families with employment and education. Part of the effort included “Operation Educate the Educators,” which trained future teachers how to support military children in their classrooms.

Biden held a listening session Wednesday with the Military Child Education Coalition and teaching colleges as a way to renew the effort. Military children face unique issues, she said, such as frequently changing schools and feeling isolated from their peers.

“I’m proud of the progress we made, and I know the needs of military kids and their parents have evolved in the past 10 years, so our work is far from finished,” Biden said. “The Bidens have a saying: ‘If you have to ask for help, it’s too late.’ We can’t expect our military students to ask for help. We need to lift them up so they don’t have to.”

Focusing on military children helps families and also improves national security, Biden said.

“When your child is suffering, nothing in your world is right,” she said. “That’s why giving military-connected kids what they need to thrive isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s critical to our national security.”

Wednesday’s event was one of multiple listening sessions Biden is planning regarding military families. The first was a meeting with military teens held just days after President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Biden didn’t take questions from reporters Wednesday, and only her opening statement was open to the press.

Wentling.nikki@stripes.com
Twitter: @nikkiwentling