Minnesota National Guard, Mall of America to Host Event for Military-Connected Children

MEDIA ADVISORY: For Immediate Release

April 13, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – To celebrate the Month of the Military Child, the Minnesota
National Guard Child & Youth Program, in partnership with Mall of America, will host the 9th annual Purple Up Open House on Friday to recognize the commitment, contributions, and
sacrifices military-connected youth make for our nation.

“This is a fun way to recognize and celebrate our smallest heroes, military-connected kids. They are there every step of the way through a parent’s deployment and military service,” said Laura Groeneweg, lead Child & Youth Program coordinator. “They know when it’s time for mom or dad to prep, pack, and leave for a weekend drill, monthly training, or year-long deployment. Military-connected children share the burden of service when their service members must miss important events in their lives or when frequent moves force them from what they know into new and different experiences. It’s a treasure when there are events military families can enjoy as a family, make memories, and relish their time together.”

The open house features music, face painting, character appearances, giveaways, treats, rides at Nickelodeon Universe, a Build-A-Bear experience, and more. To learn more about Purple Up, go to https://www.dodea.edu/dodeacelebrates/military-child-month.cfm.

“Mall of America is proud to be one of the many Minnesota businesses that fully support and recognize Month of the Military Child,” said Sara Durhman, director of community relations at the Mall of America. “At our core, the mall is about creating memorable experiences and leading from the heart. A large number of our team members are veterans or active members of the Reserve and Guard. They lead with heart and go above and beyond every day. They are key to our success.”

In addition to the open house, the Minnesota National Guard Child & Youth Program is also hosting an art contest and photo contest. Families can request a letter from Governor Tim Walz thanking military-connected youth at https://www.MinnesotaVeteran.org/militarychild. More than 15,000 children in Minnesota have at least one parent serving in the National Guard or Reserve.

Editor’s Note: Media members are invited to the open house at 12 p.m., Friday, April 14, at the Mall of America, Culinary North Space, Level 3, located at 60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425. Military families will be available for media interviews at 1 p.m. Media can RSVP to Cristina Oxtra at (651) 282-4100 or cristina.f.oxtra.nfg@army.mil.

About the Minnesota National Guard

Established in 1856 and headquartered in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard has more than 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen who serve in 58 communities across the state. The Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard are ‘Always Ready’ to fight the nation’s wars, protect the country, respond to state emergencies, and contribute to local communities. For more information about the Minnesota National Guard, visit https://MinnesotaNationalGuard.ng.mil.