On the Home Front

Students, you must get a teacher or parent's permission before sending e-mail to anyone on the Internet.

The U.S. has now deployed more than 250,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. If you want to show your support but aren't sure where to start, the U.S. Department of Defense can help.

The Defense Department and the USA Freedom Corps launched "On the Home Front" March 26, an Internet resource at USAFreedomCorps.gov. The site is for people looking to support both troops abroad and their families and communities at home.

The tradition of sending letters to "Any Service Member" overseas is now out, a victim to the war on terrorism and the fear of anthrax.

Instead, the site encourages you to send your support with the click of a button.

The U.S. Navy-Dear Abby venture "Operation Dear Abby," (AnyServiceMember.Navy.mil) one of the many programs featured on the "On the Home Front" Web site, allows you to send your words of support by e-mail to all branches of the military. Messages can be directed to those from a particular state or a specific branch of the service. Make sure your parents help you send your e-mail.

Most service members have easy access to the Internet, even in war zones. Service members can also reply if a return e-mail address is included.

If you're interested in more hands-on involvement, the site can direct you to volunteer organizations that will set you up with families of deployed troops. Through local chapters of organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of America (www.bgca.org) and the YMCA (www.ymca.net), you can help a military family with spring-cleaning and yard work, or help tutor children after school.

All of these opportunities can be found through the USA Freedom Corps Network, a search engine that locates organizations coordinating the volunteer activities you specify.

Students, the following website will ask you for personal information. Before you send ANY information, make sure you have your parent's permission. To send your e-mail, with your parent's help, click here:

http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/About.html