By Sgt. First Class Patricia D. Ruth
BAGHDAD – Army family member Katie Glenn has created a cool way for kids of deployed military personnel to express their feelings about their parent being away or who have lost a parent from the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.
With the assistance of Families United, a non-profit organization, Glenn started a blog – www.militarykidsblog.com. She said she got the idea after taking a “new media” course at American University in Washington, D.C., where she is a senior.
“I read a lot of articles on how political campaigns, charities and social activism organizations were learning to use new forms of media like Twitter, Facebook, texting and blogs to get the message out,” said Glenn, whose deployed father is U.S. Army Col. Harry C. Glenn, chief of staff of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
At Families United, she worked as a Military Family Fellow during an internship program earlier this year. She thought her idea for a website was something they would be interested in supporting.
“I learned a lot about how Families United helped military families to get their voices heard,” Glenn said. “Kids can go onto the site and put their feelings into words. They can link up with other kids who might be going through similar emotions.
“I love it so far,” she continued. “I have been reading the different posts that have been going up. I can identify with a lot of it. Sometimes it feels safer to talk to someone you can’t see or you feel better when you write it down.”
With her father deployed and she away at college rather than at home, Glenn said this introduced another situation in which she felt the blog helped her express her feelings.
Glenn’s father has served 24 years in the U.S. Army and has been deployed several times, including to Afghanistan and now Iraq.
“I am extremely proud of my daughter and her desire to help younger kids whose parents are deployed. This was her initiative and she has had the perseverance to see it through,” he said. “I believe it is a good thing any time people can discuss issues with those who are in similar circumstances. If it just allows them to relieve a little stress, it is worth it.”
When asked what she hopes the blog will do for kids, Glenn replied, “I mostly hope that military kids realize that this life is something they share with a relatively small group of the American population. This [military kids’ blog] is a whole group of kids who know just how they feel.”
Glenn said she is hopeful that the blog will someday expand into something much bigger -- hosting pictures, contact information -- sort of like a Facebook for military kids.
She also foresees the website hosting interesting articles and scholarship information.
Glenn testified about her life as a military child at a congressional hearing July 14 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.