HomeNews & EventsEmpowering Military Families: Answering the Call to Support

Empowering Military Families: Answering the Call to Support

By Sharena Sigmon for Rainbows for All Children

March 28, 2024

In the world of service, military families stand out as real-life superheroes, holding it all together with sheer resilience and bravery. They’re the rock-solid support system navigating the rollercoaster of deployments, showing unbelievable strength even when faced with uncertainty. Behind every uniformed hero, there’s a family bravely shouldering the weight of separation and the fears of the unknown.

The children in these families have unique challenges growing up amid military life and its traditions. In the grand scheme of service, military families are the unsung heroes, showing incredible courage and resilience every step of the way. It’s awe-inspiring to see how gracefully they can navigate life’s twists and turns, always managing to keep their heads high. Their sacrifices, often overlooked, can form a bond that’s incredibly resilient.

Understanding the profound impact of building a resiliency threshold on the mental health of military families, and particularly on the children, is vital. Here’s a surprising fact: did you know that, on average, military families move three times more frequently than their civilian counterparts? It’s a staggering statistic that highlights the significant upheaval these families face. Moreover, with 43% of active-duty service members having children and 32% of these children grappling with substantial psychosocial, emotional, and physical challenges due to parental deployment, it’s crystal clear that these resilient youths need our steadfast support and empathy.

The constant whirlwind of change they experience makes finding stability amidst the chaos incredibly tough. Their daily concerns about the safety of their loved ones are tangible, and it’s no wonder they often feel overwhelmed. When a parent is deployed, or worse, lost in service, it stirs up a storm of emotions – from anxiety to deep sadness and everything in between. It’s crucial to recognize that many military children face an increased risk of mental health issues due to these ongoing challenges.

Suzy Yehl Marta, our visionary founder, emerged as an exemplary figure of dedication and empathy towards these families and their experiences. Her steadfast commitment to expanding grief support services within the military community resonated as a beacon of inspiration dung her life. Suzy began a quest to find pathways for military children grappling with the complexities of loss and transition.

Through relentless efforts, Suzy cultivated alliances with esteemed army organizations, laying the groundwork for an extensive network of support. Under her stewardship, Rainbows found avenues to extend its compassionate reach, fortified by strategic partnerships with institutions such as the McGraw Foundation and the Child, Youth, and Schools Services for the US Army.

Several military installations were near Suzy’s focus, such as the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, IL. The USO Military Youth Programs were specifically tailored to meet the needs of children across all age groups. These programs provided a haven of comfort amidst the challenges of military life, fostering a deep sense of belonging. The US Marine Corps Reserve, stationed in Waukegan, IL and Joliet, IL, also stands ready to lend a helping hand. Through various initiatives to strengthen family ties and offer vital counseling and resources, they encourage unwavering support. Similarly, the Navy MWR exemplifies dedication, curating experiences that bring joy and connection to military families. Their innovative recreational programs serve as a sanctuary, offering support in the face of adversity, showcasing a commitment to overall well-being.

Amidst this network of support, there’s a powerful call to action—a call to stand side by side with our military families. Whether rolling up your sleeves for some volunteering or raising your voice in advocacy, we can make a difference. Let’s honor Suzy’s incredible legacy by being the beacons of hope and the strong pillars of support our military families need.

If you would like to volunteer and help our military community through our Rainbows programming, contact our executive director, Stephanie Garrity, at She’ll fill you in on all the details about how you can make a real impact.

If you are looking for a way to get involved in the national military community check out and search your area.

Also, our newest podcast episode, “The Compounded Grief of Military Families,” premieres Friday, March 29, and features special guest Kaanan Mackey-Fugler. Visit, to listen!

“[Kaanan]… is the Healthcare Navigator in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Department for Volunteers of America South Central Louisiana (VOASCLA). She is the surviving spouse of SSG Matthew Mackey, who died 18 days after an active-duty accident on July 28, 2010. She is also the mother to 5 Gold Star Children. In 2017, she remarried and became the wife of a disabled veteran, Joshua.” (

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