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Columbia, Rainbow honor military families with ‘Purple Up Day’

MADISON – During “Month of the Military Child” in April, students in Columbia and Rainbow elementary schools are acknowledging their peers with a relative that serves in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Launched in 1980, Month of the Military Child allowed the Pentagon and military organizations to distinguish military children for their bravery and sacrifice at home and overseas. Department of Defense Education Activity or DoDEA and numerous military organizations sponsor the month-long observance.

At Columbia and Rainbow, Jennifer Banks serves as SPARC Counselor; Melissa Butler works at Mill Creek and Heritage elementaries. SPARC abbreviates Strength, Potential, Aspirations, Resourcefulness and Confidence of military children.

Columbia and Rainbow average 50 military families (with multiple children). Moving and transition present the major problem facing these students. “Speaking with adults who hopped around as military children, they are resilient and enjoyed the different moves. As a child, going through these changes, a student needs a guide,” Banks said.

One special activity will be Purple Up Day on April 18 at Columbia and Rainbow. “The color purple is indicative of all military branches, blended together,” Banks said. “Most are familiar with Army green and Air Force blue. The Coast Guard and Navy are also blue, and the Marine red helps round out the colors.”

“This event is for the children of military families, but we’re asking support of all students and community on April 18,” Banks said.

A photo booth will offer “a low-key, fun way to give these students a memory of the day. The SPARC counselors created some military-themed props and a mobile booth,” she said.

In addition, both schools will host a military appreciation breakfast. Columbia’s breakfast on April 19 will include a flag presentation ceremony by the Junior ROTC unit at Bob Jones High School. Rainbow will host its breakfast on May 7.

“We hope families can attend and eat together,” Banks said. Students and their families will receive invitations. A “Hero” wall will grab visitors’ attention.

The menu will offer coffee, fruit trays and breakfast biscuits. Each student will receive a certificate from the Military Child Education Coalition.

Bob Jones and James Clemens high school will support Purple Up events at all elementary schools.

“Jack’s regional ‘Gives Back Program’ has graciously agreed to sponsor and provide breakfast for Columbia, and Chick-fil-A is providing for Rainbow. We are deeply appreciative for the giving spirit of these two great local restaurants,” Banks said.

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