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American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Illinois

Children and Youth

Rebecca "Sue" Johnson

Hello to the entire Gallerist of Illinois:
April is quickly approaching and we have many great things coming up in April. It will be time to celebrate Children and Youth month back at the post with all of your legion family. I know a few units who got a chance to display the talents of the talented artist in the community and Legion. Mark your calendar for either April 9th or 10th for your art exhibit. We are looking at the best work from all. You will want to have exhibits displaying media from all genres and/or craft talents. On the department website you will find shortly, a waiver page that will allow us to collect and sell the artist’s work. All the proceeds will be given to the Children Welfare Foundation who are a part of our program. This program helps to assist families who need that extra help one time a year that are struggling to keep a roof over their heads or with utilities. The Foundation also helps a non-profit program that helps keep our military children and families safe. When your event is done, send the proceeds to the Department Office and earmark them as CWF. If you have any questions, reach out to me or go to the National website for answers. Get your district, division or department and chairman involved. I am looking forward to those pictures that show the world what a great program we have. April is all about the Military child and how they are Heroes too. Get involved with the schools and show how they can honor the military children and ways that they can connect with civilian children. My unit is helping me with a Children’s Birthday Bash involving our high school district and all the schools that feed into it and our neighbor district. Come on up and see what is involved. I could definitely use extra sets of hands. You can also display the military child’s table or have a ceremony that the community can see what goes on at your unit/post. This is a great way to possibly pick up membership. Mark the calendar for April 15th, which is Purple Up for our military children. We did a great job last year, but I know we can do a better job this year getting everyone in your hometown or city to wear purple. Flood face book, twitter, instagram, tick tock and all other available medias. Let them know we support them. Some other ideas include: having a game/movie night, give away prom clothing and accessories for the military children or homeless that can’t afford it. Host a post prom at your post. Have a kid’s cook-off or bake off. If you have any other ideas please share. Our third pillar is our children. They are our future. We need to be that liaison that helps them connect with other children. Play is how they thrive and grow. If you see or hear of a child or youth being a hero or performing a good deed please fill out proper forms and turn in to Department. Give the award out at your next unit meeting. I am still looking for juniors in college, majoring in Special Education, who might be interested in this Children and Youth scholarship to get the paper work filled out and submitted to me soon. The deadline for the scholarship is March 15 to your unit. I need lots of pictures and information on what you do for the children. Purple up!!!!! Thanks, Sue Johnson Children and Youth Chairperson

Special Olympics have their fingers crossed that they will be close to normal as possible. Winter games were held and not as much participation as expected, but they feel we will have our same big crowd with just a few guidelines to follow. Mark your calendar for June 17-18th this year. They had to move it this year due to Nationals being held down in Florida on the second week of June. I understand that will be going the same time as Girl State. We need everybody’s help. Two years ago we did not have enough volunteers to keep a few lines running and were down to a partial line. We have jobs for everyone in the Legion family. We need baggers, choppers, servers on the line, stockers, and drivers to take supplies out to other locations at Illinois State University. We have ones that just prepare the drinks. We have a Legion family that bring their motorcycles down so the athletes can sit on them and experience the feeling of riding a bike. Besides hosting good hospitality, it gives the athletes, their families and coaches nice shade and camaraderie. It also gives them a chance to show and brag about the medals they have earned. We would love for you to come work with us all day, two days and we will take a few hours as long as we can stagger the help so they are not leaving all at the same time. We would like to make those changes so we do not get into the same shortage as before. The location is Horton Field House 180 N. Adelaide St. Normal, Il 61761. This is where concessions are held in breeze way. The bikers will be with us this year at the same spot, opposite end, to keep us close. Nobody volunteering should feel like they are not needed, if so please point it out to the committee and we will handle the issue. We need your help and the athletes need you too. Come give your time, donation of foods or money earmarked for Special Olympics. The list of what is needed from each of the Legion Families will be on the Department website shortly for your viewing pleasure. Thanks again, Sue Johnson 815-222-3983.

As we move forward “Crafting a Brighter Future for Our Veterans “ this year I would like to give my action plan on “ The American Children of Illinois got talent” Even though in the Art Gallery of Department is not big enough to display all this wonderful talent we have a small section in the left hall for a couple of masterpieces.

As you’re out exploring for these artists we do have many traveling units in Illinois that will be able display these different genres of art. You might be able to take them to other Veteran associations to demonstrate and display our very own children’s talent. Or vise a versa have Veterans come in to teach our children both military and civilian many of the genres of art to release their hidden talents. Let it be said that all children have talents of the arts whether they continue them into adulthood is there choice. Creative work is play and play is life. It is free speculation using materials of one’s chosen form.

We have 4 major exhibits that will be required. The first exhibit is The Children gifting at Christmas time for the Children with special needs in our Institutions. The entries have to be received no later than October 22th, 2021 to me. I will not be able to take them after that date so please contact your children and youth gallerist and let them know. You might have someone in your gallery that could go in if allowed, and check out his or her talents maybe teach a crafting idea. Ex: Poppies poster. The paperwork for that data will be found in your folder please do not drop the ball agents, but get it to the collaborators of artist enrolled in our program.

The second exhibit will be found in many locations 3 times during the year for Special Olympics. We are keeping are fingers crossed that this performance in sports will not be canceled this year. These are the projected dates for these events. The first being called winter games, Feb 1-3 in two locations this year Chestnut and Eagle Ridge in Galena Illinois. We will need that manpower since they put the events in two spots. I will be getting back to everyone on the items to be donated. We will need as much funds for these 3 events. The second show is called welcome back summer games. I will have info to share in March. That one will be in many venues in Normal Bloomington on June 17th and 18th.. This will have new impressions and definitely many expressions. The last one is very interesting they call this show tennis. An authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and his audience. This to will be held in Normal Bloomington but at the Tennis Club August 13-15th. Keep your eyes open for how you can all be involved in the new Special Olympics. The children need you and I need you. Plus it’s a part of getting the awards this year. They love the encouragement, support from the agony of defeat.

The third exhibit has no set dates and is unpredictable but needs to be accounted for because this art is not propaganda; it is a form of truth. When we look at this art it involves elements of improvisation and action. We may believe it is planned but it is done on impulse. The happening can be advertised by many means. Gather the facts, this art is the desire of man to express good deeds and heroism, to record the reactions of his or her personality to the world they live in. Every artist can participate at his or her local gallery. Please fill out the forms and email or mail a copy to me and send it to the main gallery headquarters. These children will be given certificates for you to reward. Call your media when giving the recipient the award for their accomplishment. This could happen at any time.

The fourth exhibit can be collaborated by a group of art dealers checking out the authenticity of talent in your area. You can do many things with this like follies, find their muse open to many genres: performing arts, narrative, comedian talent, kinetic sculpture, painters, improvisation, and crafters. Get a committee of art dealers and plan several events. It could be monthly or 3 or 4 times in the year. Artistic Aesthetics: An Exhibition on where they will take place with data how this talent was found and documentations of pictures. Please send this too many rather it is a grand champion piece, video of performance that I can show off at the last showing in July. This year these are the things I’m looking for the Beulah M. Unfer award. It is great to do the traditional venues but what I’m considering is out of the box. Yes, “ American Children of Illinois has Talent, So put out your recruits to find them. All artists start out as amateurs, but put a smile on the Veterans face when you combine them together. This concludes my recommendations Madame Director. Thanks for the new challenges and here’s to an artistic year.

Resources from National

Log into the National website to access these items
  • Youth Hero / Good Deed Award
  • Military Child's Table Setting Ceremony
  • Youth Hero Award News Release Template

Department Resources