Editor’s Note: The monthly Resource Spotlight is an Q&A that provides information about nonprofit organizations who serve military spouses and their families. The purpose is to connect military spouses with available resources designed to help them thrive in their careers and military life.
What’s the history of your organization?
Little Patriots Embraced was founded in April 2004. We are celebrating our 10th year serving our military families with a special emphasis on the children left behind. The organization was founded by Carol Watanabe (who is currently serving as the Executive Director) when she discovered a need to support military spouses and their children during and after their deployments. Through the years, more programs and assistance have been added and more families and children have been served. To date, 36,000 military children and thousands of military families have been served in 46 states.
Please describe the mission of Little Patriots Embraced (LPE):
Our mission is to enhance the lives of our military families in need, while their loved ones are protecting our freedom.
What services does your organization offer?
Our Deployment package program was our first program. The basic LPE Family Package contains journals for adults and children; a Little Patriot Bear, which comes with its own T-shirt, security blanket, and backpack to hold notes from a loved one; a specially designed patriotic quilt; a CD with relaxing music; and other items to give comfort and support to families in stressful situations.
Our next program, Adopt a Military Family Program, is for families who need extra help through the holiday season. Additional support is offered through LPE’s Adopt-a-Military-Family program and Toy Drive. Individuals and corporations from the community and around the country are invited to either adopt a specific family or contribute to a general fund. Gift cards, monetary donations, and in-kind gifts are all ways that the community shows its support for these families during the holidays.
Our next program was our MD-TEC Fund. When a working family member is deployed, the sudden loss of income can be devastating, especially in times of crisis. LPE maintains a special fund called the Military Dependent—Tuition, Emergency, and Childcare (MD-TEC) Fund. On an as-needed basis, LPE uses this fund to provide financial assistance for children’s summer camp, family emergencies, and child care.
In 2010 LPE launched a Youth Development program called Project Bear Essentials. This program was designed to assist parents as they attempt to help reduce the stress that young children (2 to 12 years old) experience when a loved one is deployed for an extended period.
In 2013 LPE announced their Military Kids Fit for Life Fitness program to emphasize the importance of stress management through exercise and healthy eating habits. Along with this program, they launched their Military Kids Fitness, Music and Entertainment tour, to bring these programs on tour to bases across the country. Our tour mission is to recognize all military children for their service to our country.
What population(s) do you serve (spouses, veterans, children)? Military families, including spouses and children, of active duty service members and veterans, and families who have lost a loved one. We serve family members of all military branches, including the Reserves and National Guard.
How can our readers support your organization? By participating in our Text-2-Donate campaign. By texting “LPE” to 501501, they can make a $10 digital donation to sponsor a military child. We also accept donations of toys and books for children yearround to distribute during our annual toy drive. Between October 15 and November 30, we accept monetary donations to help us ship holiday gifts to children around the country and in-kind donations for adopted military families in need. A donation of any size can be made on our website to support our programs.
Volunteers are always welcome to help spread the mission of Little Patriots Embraced and to put on fundraisers to help us continue our programs.
Does your nonprofit organization serve military spouses? Are you looking to spread the word?
Send an email to NextGen MilSpouse Content Editor Michelle Volkmann at michelle<at>msbnewmedia<dot>com to find out how your organization can be a future Resource Spotlight.