MANDEVILLE, La. -- A new organization needs help giving children of deceased or deployed military members a new outlook on life, and now the group is using recreational opportunities to keep the children's minds and hearts at ease.
Three-year-old Sophia has no problem playing with her mom at the park, but Andrea Rayburn says her 7-year-old son Nathan isn’t as easy to please these days.
“He's always asking, 'When's daddy coming home. I don't want to do this because daddy's not here,'" said Rayburn.
And that’s been tough to change because Sgt. John Rayburn has been in Kuwait with the National Guard since August.
Andrea, also in the National Guard, has been with the kids at home during deployment with only FaceTime as a means of keeping the family in touch.
But a new non-profit, Bring It Home Northshore, has stepped in to help families like the Rayburns by offering recreational distractions for children with parents deployed or deceased.
Victoria Langlinais said, “We don't have a Morale, Welfare and Recreation program like you would usually find on a military base, so we want to be able to fill that void."
The group receives either monetary donations, or service donations from businesses, and turns them into tickets to the zoo or Zephyr’s games, as well as covering the cost of activities like dance and painting classes, all to boost the morale of children missing their military parents.
"We've had a lot of community support both from citizens and businesses that are able to provide us with those resources," said Langlinais.
Seven families are benefitting from the organization so far, who are overjoyed with the unique support. Rayburn said, "If you take him and put him with other kids that are going through the same thing, it just gives you that connection."
To learn more about the organization, or to donate to their efforts, click here.