Knowledge is power. A core element of the Auxiliary’s mission, caring for our children and youth, is sharply focused on educating adults about the needs of our young people. We believe that the more people know and understand about the needs of the children in their communities, the more interest they will have in learning how they can help meet those needs.
In the American Legion Auxiliary, we do more than talk about it. The Auxiliary provides significant cash assistance and direct service and supports legislation that affects children at the local, state, and national levels. And while all children are important, the Auxiliary particularly focuses on helping the children of our veterans and active military.
To recognize and reward the positive actions of our children and youth, the Auxiliary bestows two special national awards to youth nominated by local units. The Youth Hero Award recognizes someone under 18 years of age who performs a heroic act of physical bravery. The Good Deed Award is for youths under 18 years of age who have contributed in a special way to society through community service.
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation was created in 1954 to provide other nonprofit organizations with the means to educate the public about the special needs of children, particularly advocating preventive solutions. The Auxiliary supports this organization monetarily and promotes its mission, in partnership with The American Legion and The Sons of The American Legion.
Youth Hero Award focuses on youths under the age of 18 who have performed a heroic deed. As a Unit you can nominate by writing a description of the act of heroism on the appropriate form. Newspaper clippings may be included to substantiate the information. Two members of your Unit must certify the act and MUST send the application to the Department Secretary for her certification. The award is free of charge and will be shipped within 7 weeks of receipt. The 1 ¾” circular medal hangs on a red/white/blue ribbon. This award may be used to honor a youth who performed actions such as; rescue of someone from a burning building, attempted to stop a mugger attacking an elderly person, saved a drowning victim, rescued a child from a potential kidnapper, called 911 when observing child abuse, notified school officials after observing a probable theft, etc. The Unit may make the presentation of the Youth Hero Award at a special ceremony or at an Auxiliary meeting. Contact the Department Children &Youth Chairman for additional information.
A local organized walk-a-thon by members across our nation the Saturday before Flag Day is an option. If that date doesn’t work, select one that does. Solicit pledges and select a site that is conducive to the members. A park, high school track, hiking trail, or public street blocked off for the event. Maybe you could make this a family event with special awards for largest family, youngest family, first place stroller pusher/walker etc.
Another fundraising idea is to purchase Josh (a soft toy dog of non-allergenic material who is housed in a unique dog house). Included with Josh, is an animated children’s book entitled “I’ll Be OK”. Through the words of the Golden Retriever who learns he is to have surgery, a child facing the fears of their own surgery can receive courage and hope. Your Unit can either purchase and present Josh to a child you know personally or give him to a local hospital for their use. Josh can also be purchased to use as a raffle item to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. A percentage of the sale of each Josh kit is donated to the CMN hospital in the purchaser’s area. Single purchases are $32.87 plus $4.00 shipping; a case of 6 is $167.29 ($27.89ea) plus $9.00 shipping. You may wish to join another Unit when purchasing to receive the lower price. Website is www.joshandfriends.com.
Specialty items are provided to Units free of charge to sell for $1.00 each as another choice of fund raising. There are Miracle Balloons and Flag Icon cards that can be sold at post homes, county and state fairs or other community activities. After being signed by the donors, hang them in a prominent community place or your post home to give recognition to those who show their support. All of these funds will go directly to the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Please see attached order form.
The first weekend following Memorial Day, local television stations will conduct a telethon. Volunteer to help with this major fund-raising event. The American Legion Auxiliary will be publicly recognized for their efforts. If your Unit or you know of another Auxiliary Unit who has made an outstanding contribution, notify the Children’s Hospital so they may participate on the telethon. And last but not least, use your own creative ideas to raise funds that will assist with this worthy project.
Child Safety Children are our greatest resource. They are our future. Your Unit may wish to concentrate your time educating parents. Many resource materials are available from the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for distribution within your local community to help stress awareness for child safety. National Children & Youth materials which can be ordered include:
– Warning Signs
– Gateway Drugs
– Halloween Brochures
– Play It Safe Booklet
– Delinquency Prevention
– Safety Tips for Outdoor Fun
– Warning Signs, Suicide Prevention
– Fire Protection/Prevention Program
– National Crime Prevention Program
Contact Department Headquarters or submit a Supply Order Form. Also, don’t forget to include your Unit information in the appropriate space on the back of each brochure.