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Military Report: Day in The Life event returns for second year

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) – On April 27, the “Day in the Life: event will return to Pioneer Park for a second year as community partners work to bring awareness of the challenges face by military children.

April is the “Month of the Military Child,” bringing awareness to the sacrifices and struggles endured by children who have parents or guardians in the military. From frequent moving to having a caretaker on deployment, these kids grow up without the stability of a consistent community. But the communities in which they may be in can help reduce the difficulties, and that is what Fairbanks has and continues to be recognized for.

One way Fairbanks continues to help civilians understand the challenges and how to help military members is through the “Day in the Life” event. While there are year round efforts to address the needs of military families and youth, particularly in the school setting, this event was created to strengthen the understanding of the military lifestyle through the lens of the kids that live it.

Last year was the first time the event took place and it stemmed from an award recognizing the school districts dedication to military kids. It’s called the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award. “When you win that award you get money and so we had this money and we’re like what are we going to do with this,” said Georgia Sandgren, a student support coordinator with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD). The answer was the “Day in the Life” event. “We had over 700 people at that event and we had civilians come up to us saying they so very much appreciated this collaboration to better understand the military lifestyle,” said Janet Farris a school liaison officer from Ft. Wainwright.

The event has dozens of vendor booths and activities that are meant to help educate participants about the military lifestyle and other related topics. There will also be presentations from military kids who will speak to their own experiences, which vary, but one of the hallmarks is that “military students move with their family every two to three years,” explained Farris. That means the children of career soldiers may move up to twelve times before the age of 18.

This can be difficult on both the families and the civilians they befriend. By strengthening the understanding of the transitions these kids and families go through, this event helps civilians learn to help military families going through that transition.

For 2024, “Day in the Life” will take place on Saturday at Pioneer Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to “Day in the Life,” the Purple Star School Designation Award will be presented at 10 a.m. This award recognizes schools that go above and beyond to support military students.