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Bloom at Purple Star



On October 26th, the National Day of the Deployed, Bloom had the incredible privilege of attending the Purple Star USA 2023 National Convening of Schools & Communities. The virtual conference focused on the unique experiences that military-connected youth and families endure, and it sought to equip parents, schools, and communities with the resources and information they need to support military families. With over 20 different workshops and sessions, and alongside opening remarks done by the First Lady of the United States, Bloom was honored to share the experiences of military teens with a supportive and change-seeking audience.


Bloomers Kait H., Cayla Y., Ella W., and Emily A. had the opportunity to panel on a joint youth and parent session, where they shared their stories centered around moves, emotions, coping, and adjusting to new schools. Each Bloomer had their own unique responses to the questions asked, and some of their most insightful and impactful takes on the military teen life are recapped below.


When asked how she and her family best coped with the emotions of moving and PCSing, Kait

stated that her family always talks it out beforehand, and her parents are always upfront with upcoming changes. Kait also voiced that “as for coping with the emotions, there’s no stopping what’s to come, so sometimes it’s better to flip the script.” She shared that instead of thinking “I don’t want to leave all my friends and the community, I don’t want to start all over again”, she chooses to encourage herself and her siblings to think of “new opportunities and new experiences.”


In response to a question concerning the biggest challenges she faced being a military child in elementary through high school, Cayla shared that “it’s important to be able to know your staff.” She stated that “some people don’t know where the counselor's office is for academic purposes. They don’t know the school psychologists.” Cayla shared the importance of getting to know school staff and MFLCs (Military and Family Life Counseling), and she believes that advanced students like herself get the “brunt” of the struggle and disappointment when they move schools. They often might be ahead or behind in the new curriculums, and she said that oftentimes, teachers and administrators underestimate military kids’ abilities to rise above the struggle. Cayla challenged that mindset by sharing the story of how she overcame trials and worked to receive the help she needed.


Ella was asked a question centered around some of her favorite things she has experienced being a military teen. She shared that although moves are challenging, opportunities for gifted kids like herself may have never been presented to her if she wasn’t connected to military life. She shared that now, as a junior in high school, she is looking at colleges and is beginning to appreciate that she has had “ the experience of living in different places because it gives [her] a better idea of what [she] might be looking for.”


In response to a question regarding what she wished the general public would know about military-connected youth, Emily shared that she wanted people to be aware that no matter how “seasoned” a military youth is, they still are not experienced in navigating difficult emotions that come with moves and deployments. This came with a personal story from Emily, where she recounted that people often tell her that since she’s a military kid, she must be experienced in moves and that it must continuously get easier for her. She stated that this is a false statement and that although military kids are extremely resilient, it doesn't mean they are unfazed by tough situations. She shared that this reality presents people with the opportunity to check up on military youth, and it urges them to never downplay tough feelings. It also encourages military youth to be vulnerable with each other, to share their experiences, and to reach out in empathy to their peers.


These Bloomers were extremely grateful to be able to share their beautiful stories openly, and they executed a remarkable representation of military youth around the world. To learn more about Purple Star schools, visit the Military Child Education Coalition website located here. To view the amazing conference session that our Bloomers paneled in, follow this link.

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