Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program helps military kids stay connected
By Marguerite Cleveland
Deployments can be so tough on kids and it is often difficult for them to stay connected to their deployed loved ones. Back in the day my father would send us cassette tapes and we could listen to him. Then we would tape one and send it back to him. Technology has changed so much since then and the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program helps military kids stay connected with their deployed love ones.
Valerie Ortiz’s three year old was struggling with Dad being away. “Last Christmas, my husband was deployed and he sent a video and a book of him reading to our kids. Our 3 year old was having particular trouble with Dad being away and that video and book was everything. He must’ve watched it 30 times that one night and then watched it every day for a month. We were extremely grateful,” she said.
Ortiz had discovered the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program. The Bob Hope Legacy partnered with the USO to provide is a virtual, on-demand story time that helps military kids connect with their deployed parent. The program has three parts: story time, military kid reading program and supporting local reading programs around the world. It has reached an estimated 23,000 military families throughout the world this past year.
The Story time program allows military service members to read to their children wherever they are in the world. It can help them provide a special gift to mark important occasions like a birthday or newborn birth. You just need to go to a participating USO locations to record yourselves reading to your child and that recording gets shipped home.
Another aspect of the program works in reverse with the military child recording themselves reading and the ability to share it with someone they love. The USO helps bring families together by sending the recording to a child’s loved one.
The USO and the Bob Hope Legacy supports local reading programs specifically designed to meet the needs of a local military community. These programs may be geared towards military spouses to help them meet others in their situation or kids craft activities designed to pair with a story.
Bob Hope was a famous movie star who loved the military. At his prime he headlined USO shows and usually spent every Christmas performing for the troops. The USO continues to honor his legacy and you can read more about him at Bob Hope – The USO’s One Man Morale Machine.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com
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