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American Legion Youth

American Legion LogoRecognition for Excellence

It is our youth who have the most important impact on America’s future. It’s imperative to remain optimistic and encourage these young people to retain ambition and purpose while growing up in a world beset by crises.

Allowing the political environment to stifle their efforts would be a great loss to our nation.

To encourage our youth, we can focus on acknowledging acts of service and kindness. Educators can team up with their local American Legion to honor students with a School Medal nomination, for courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, and service.

This School Medal is the highest honor awarded to youth by the American Legion and proclaims to the world that this young person is worthy of recognition.


The Whole Child Plan

American Legion members realized that neglect of family/child welfare affected disabled veterans’ rehabilitation. It was the American Legion’s National Child Welfare Division that proposed the “Whole Child” plan. This is a plan of action that contains three main principles:

  1. Strengthen the family unit against the forces of a complex society. The American Legion recognizes that the optimal environment for children is at home with his or her own parents. Our efforts have always been directed toward keeping the family together.
  2. Extend support to sound organizations and facilities that provide services for children and youth. The American Legion always acts in a supplementary capacity rather than duplicating the efforts of existing agencies.
  3. Maintain a well-rounded program that meets the needs of today’s young people. This third principle provides elasticity to address all matters of child health and welfare and affirms The American Legion’s commitment to all children.

While these three principles are the heart of the “Whole Child” plan, there are four methods acting as the muscle: Education, Legislation, Material Aid, and Prevention.

Over the decades, the development of new and improved public programs to provide economic security for children has made it possible for the Legion to focus on other problem areas.

To date, no area of child welfare has gone untouched by the collective hand of The American Legion. The Legion’s program of Children & Youth is unique from any agency, governmental or private, in its ability to expand from every area of concern for child welfare and health.

While The American Legion’s list of accomplishments is long, it is by no means complete.

The American Legion will always seek new, innovative, and better approaches to child welfare programs. We may not know what challenges face our youth tomorrow, but we can offer tools like quality care, education, and training to help them prepare today.

The American Legion is proud of everything our members do on behalf of our nation’s youth, along with our extended family: American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion, and American Legion Riders.

Together, our efforts in child welfare are a testament to the Legion’s ability to adapt to changing needs while maintaining high principles and taking on increased responsibilities as necessary.


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