Keller is founder and CEO of the Military Child Education Coalition, a nonprofit that helps military-connected kids adapt to challenges such as frequent separation from a parent and transferring schools often.

What kind of challenges do military-connected kids face?

They move frequently -- about three times more often than their civilian classmates. Military children will attend six to nine different schools from kindergarten through high school -- and that doesn't even count the normal transition from elementary to middle, or middle to high school. They not only face academic hardships but also struggle establishing social and emotional connections.


How many military-connected children does MCEC serve?

There are about 2 million kids worldwide from birth to age 23 who are connected to the U.S. military. Seventy-five percent of them are below age 12.

How do children of soldiers in active duty relate to children of soldiers in the National Guard or reserves?

Children with connections to the National Guard and reserves may not move as frequently, but they share the experience of those in active duty -- which is frequent deployment and separation. As a child grows and matures, we need to think about what that means for their understanding of what a family does and we need to create a convoy of support of other caring adults around them.

What kind of programs does MCEC run?

We have trained more then 70,000 teachers that volunteer to help military families. We also train parents and community and state leaders, and we have a student-to-student program that teaches kids to be accepting and welcome any child who is new to a school. MCEC has trained students to establish the program in more than 230 high schools and a little more than 120 middle schools.

- Hayley Peterson