What About The Children?
Here’s the kicker, a few weeks ago my wife who is retirement age (I don’t dare give her actual age) was offered by Veterans Affairs the opportunity to retrain and assistance in seeking employment so we can add to the income of our house hold. Yah that’s right, a women who has filled her days raising children and working can get financial resources to return to school so that she can work well into her retirement; (as can I) but my children who need assistance to overcome the trauma of their childhood and are struggling to pay for college and university have no resources other than student loans. And yes you can argue that this is all most children have, but you would miss the point that they did not have the stable financial up bringing others enjoyed, not to the fault of poor family planning, but because of my military service. Now I’m not ready to lie down and died as of yet and I have a Not for Profit to build, so I myself am going to take any training I can get and use it to change the course of veterans mental health. But looking past myself for the moment, I have developed the habit of watching my children grow into young men and women and it frustrates me at the extra effort they must put in just to meet the status quo.
The recent Ontario College teachers strike brought up a few thoughts this morning as I was reading a few messages between my children. It struck me that there is an increasing recognition for the extent of damage caused to families post military deployments. A few years ago Dr Heidi Cramm began research surrounding military families with regard to this very topic. Military Bases have for years put in place family support while soldiers were on deployment or exercise, and have extended those services particularly in the mental health prevention and treatment side of the house. Many similar concerns and comments have appeared at the Canadian Institute of Military and Veterans Health Research forums, as well as the Veterans Advisory Board and miscellaneous other symposiums regarding Military and veterans well being. So you might think that with all this awareness of late that there would be a program or two in the works that would support children of veterans damaged by service to rebuild their lives and move forward. Well there isn’t.
I have one daughter in college, who may or may not have to replace OSAP loans because of the recent College Strike; loans that she used to live on and would have a difficult time repaying or surviving without a second influx of cash next term. All of which could be lost depending on how long the strike lasts. One son wanting to return to college, employment in his original training never came to fruition. A second son is taking university courses on a per semester basis has he builds up enough cash. All of these children (now adults) have been through extreme adversity from early ages, yet despite this have managed to rise above the trauma of their youth and grow. My other daughter is an impressive dance choreographer. All of these achievements they have done on their own. I have never been in a position to support them financially and could only support emotionally two of the four children.
Now before you start telling me about post secondary funding by the legion, you should make sure you check a few facts. First take a look at the number of recipients, and wither they are in fact military families that have been awarded the scholarships. The stats may change your opinion on how available that particular resource truly is. And for the record I am not saying that families shouldn’t apply and try for these awards, just that they are not as available as you may think. What I am advocating is that if a child of a wounded veteran, released medically is interested in advancing their education, then there should be funding available to them. They should not have to apply for grants, scholarships, or bursaries competing for marks to overcome the trauma they suffered from their childhood. The truth is, children who have suffered childhood adversities tend to struggle in education a great deal more than those that haven’t. Therefore educational grants and loans should be readily available without competition to any of these children without exception.