Children & Youth

The purpose and principles of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Children and Youth Program are in general the same as those of The American Legion.  Although the program is derived from mandates of The American Legion, the Auxiliary augments and adds to it through its continuing support of the overall program as well as through the sponsorship of special assignments and activities.

  1. To assure care and protection for children and youth, particularly those of veterans and military families.
  2. Education of the membership and the general public on the needs of the Military child and recommended ways of meeting those needs.

PRINCIPLES:

  1. To preserve the integrity of the family home.
  2. To maintain a “whole” child program, with due regard for all needs of children physical, spiritual, emotional, and educational.
  3. To cooperate with and strengthen other sound organizations and agencies for children, avoiding duplication of existing programs.

METHOD OF OPERATION:

  1. The American Legion Auilixary provides direct cash, assistance and service to individual children or families of veterans as well as miliary families.
  2. Education of the membership and the general public on the needs of children and recommended ways of meeting those needs.

ORGANIZATION:

Unit: Every American Legion Auxiliary Unit should have a Children and Youth Chairman, and if the Unit is of sufficient size, a Children and Youth Committee.  Working under the general guidance of the Unit President, it is the responsibility of the Children and Youth Chairman to help achieve the two primary goals of the Children and Youth program within their community:

  1. Care and protection of children of veterans and military families;
  2. Improved conditions for all children.
  3. Each American Legion Auxiliary Unit should also have a Children and Youth Chairman.  The American Legion Auxiliary Children and Youth Chairman is encouraged to coordinate with The American Legion Post Children and Youth Chairman.

Duties of the Unit Children and Youth Chairman: The duties of the unit Children and Youth Chairman are:

  1. Make sure that the pledge of care and protection for children of veterans and miliary family are carried out through service work, direct cash assistance to needy families from Unit funds, and the use of Department or National funds for temporary aid to children of veterans and military families.
  2. Provide leadership for the Unit on all matters pertaining to children.
  3. Cooperate with other responsible organizations and agencies of the community whose work is in the interest of children.
  4. Make regular reports of Children and Youth activities and plans to the general public, to the membership of the Unit,and whenever a formal report is requested, to the District or Department Children and Youth Chairman.

DIRECT AID AND SERVICE TO CHILDREN OF VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES:

Much of the Children and Youth work of the Unit will be concerned with helping or getting help for individual families of veterans and military familes who are in need.  It has never been the intention of the Children and Youth Program that an Auxiliary Unit should take over full and continuing responsibility for the financial support of dependent families.

A number of different agencies have been established by our federal, state and local governments for this purpose.  They are: Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Service Agencies, Social Security offices, etc.  One of the first things to be considered in attempting to help a family is the question of whether or not the family is eligible for aid from one of these sources.  It cannot be recommended too strongly that the Unit Children and Youth Chairman is to work in close cooperation with both the Service Officer and the Children and Youth Chairman of The American Legion.  Both of these officers should be able to give valuable aid in obtaining help from these outside sources.

We do have to recognize that while the various governmental agencies do have the major responsibility for helping families in need, there are frequently delays in obtaining such aid.  There are cases when the aid furnished is inadequate.  An there will be a few cases where, for one reason or another, there just doesn’t seem to be any agency which can provide the needed assistance.  These are the instances when the Unit will want to use its own welfare funds.

For more information on this subject, contact your Department headquarters for publications available without charge.

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