Designated by the US Department of Defense (DoD), April is the Month of the Military Child. According to the DoD, there are nearly 1.6 million military children currently in the U.S., facing their own unique situations and challenges. One military child, Omar Sparks, has taken the example his mother has set for him and used it as momentum to show compassion and leadership in his community.
Growing up on the Navajo Nation, Omar would often accompany his mother, Diné Naazbaa Partnership (DNP) Program Lead Bernie Tyler, working to assist those in the community. Omar would greet those he interacted with “Yá'át'ééh shicheii/shimasaní, how can I help you?” (Translation: Hello, my grandfather/grandmother, how can I help you?). The people he was addressing would light up, elated that such a young person could have such enthusiasm and respect for others.
As he grew older, Omar was directly exposed to assisting elders and veterans while working through a summer employment program. This work ignited a spark in him to continue to support those in his community. Omar began consistently assisting his mother at events where DNP was present and volunteering whenever he was given the opportunity. From something as simple as taking photos/videos at DNP events, to directly lending a hand to veterans in need. Omar has participated in cleaning up the Shiprock Post VFW 9517, chopping wood, running errands, and transporting veterans. He does this all while maintaining full-time employment as a teenager but continues because he understands how much of a difference he can make for the lives of the veterans in his community.
" I love volunteering and helping DNP veterans plus my elders, it swells my heart that I can do this for my tribe." – Omar Sparks, Military Child
Omar was a Marine Corps Junior ROTC 4-year standout. His color guard team performed for the governor of New Mexico at a Legislative session in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and he is currently awaiting enlistment into the Marine Corps. We are proud to see military children like Omar who continue the legacy of their parents and give back to their communities. Together, we can do better, and involving our younger generation is one way there.
The Navajo Nation is stronger when our veterans are stronger. Connect with DNP to learn more about how you can give back to the Navajo veteran community by visiting our website and completing an online form: http://dinenaazbaapartnership.org/