FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- About 150 military children in the Sandhills got to spend Thursday with the Golden Knights U.S. Army Parachute Team to simulate their skydiving missions and more.
The event, called Purple Up!, recognizes the children for their unique challenges and sacrifices made while being in military families.
High schoolers in attendance said they appreciated having an initiative geared specially toward them.
"Just seeing how the parachutes are packed and how many times they jump a day, the different altitudes they go at, it's really interesting to see what they go through," Cumberland County Schools student Tatianna Hielscher said.
"I think it's cool because it allows younger people to learn about all their options that they can do when they get older," Cumberland County Schools student Gerald Mason said.
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The event was sponsored this year by the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. Representatives from the clinic said they hope this gives the kids a fun break from school.
Clinic Director Jennifer Smith said military kids, especially high schoolers, are under a lot of stress. When it comes to dealing with things like mental illness and losing friends from moving around, she wants the kids to know they're not alone.
"Normal adolescence doesn't change for a military child. It's just compounded by constant transition and unexpected unstable things that may happen in the home: unexpected deployments or job changes and those sorts of things, so when those things compound, we want to bring awareness to that," Smith said.
2022 Miss North Carolina, Karolyn Martin, a military child herself who participated in the event, said she hopes the kids leave inspired and take with them this special message:
"Despite where you come from, who you are, what you look like, and the things that you enjoy, there are always different and exciting opportunities that you can pursue, and that if you have a dream, if you have a goal, you should go for it and achieve it because there's nothing you can't do," she said.
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