The Military Child Education Coalition has designated the dandelion as the official plant of the military child, because like these children, the plants thrive in almost all locations and conditions.

In Brevard County, the volunteers of AVET Project invite the community to join them in celebrating April, the official Month of the Military Child and the dandelion-like hardiness of these youngsters with a special dinner event from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Cocoa Beach Country Club at 5000 Tom Warriner Blvd. in Cocoa Beach.

“These kids deserve the recognition,” said Kim Cone, AVET’s president and treasurer.

Cone anticipates the celebration to become an annual tradition.

“This year is the first time, but it won’t be the last,” she said.

Cone’s husband, Garren, founded AVET Project and American Warrior Radio. Garren Cone, a war-time disabled Air Force veteran, was also a military child.

The event will feature plenty of kid magnet activities such as games and a photo booth, as well as inspirational presentations, followed by a buffet dinner at the country club.

“You do not have to be in the military to attend,” Cone added.

Attendees are encouraged to wear purple, the official color of the military child because it combines each military branch’s special colors into one.

Young people 17 and younger accompanied by an adult will be admitted free. The grownups pay $25 for the dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are available. The event also supports the efforts of AVET, or American Veterans Empowerment Team, which assists veterans with VA claims, and offers reintegration retreats and similar services.

Among the speakers will be 18-year-old entrepreneur — and military child — Christian Lape.

“My dad was either working or deployed half of my childhood,” said Christian, the son of Air Force veteran Brandon Lape.

To Christian, the support he enjoyed from his dad and the rest of the family helped shape him into the young adult he is.

“The level of discipline I learned from him and my grandparents is through the roof,” he said.

The Space Coast is home to 74,000 veterans and military children are connected to thousands of them. These children have grown up moving from military base to military base, attending multiple schools, celebrating milestones with parental phone calls and worrying about the safety of their mothers or fathers, or both.

“The struggle is very real for these kids,” Cone said.

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