On Sunday, April 17, the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative held the third annual celebration of military-connected children at the Los Angeles Public Library.

April, Month of the Military Child brought children and families from across the area together to participate in numerous activities at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. The collaborative’s Families & Children working group, in partnership with Mindful Warrior Project, organized the event.

The children were able to get their faces painted and enjoy music, art activities, drumming circle and literacy games. They were given as many books and toys as they could carry. Several families while posing at the photo booth, immediately forwarded their “funny pictures” to their deployed loved ones so that they too could experience this special recognition of their children.

This event was supported by the White House Joining Forces initiative. First Lady Michelle Obama sent her best wishes and provided each family with a First Family portrait, including baseball card-size pictures of the dogs, Bo and Sunny. The children also received certificates of recognition from U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (a graduate of the USC MSW program), state Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, Assemblymember Patty Lopez, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

This event was made possible by the support of community partners, including Gail Soffer, executive director of the Mindful Warrior Project, Ted Jones from the Del Amo Rotary Club, Pastor Kelvin Sauls and Elaine Moore of Holman United Methodist Church, and Operation Family Caregiver, in addition to other community partners and volunteers.

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