One of the more difficult things a child may have to go through is being without a father. It is a regular occurrence with military children, but they tend to be resilient. Even though that is true, the head of the Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Office, Dr. Michael Faran says that about 30% of children who have a deployed parent will experience stress and anxiety.
That is where Jayden Kirkpatrick comes in.
Jaden is a 13-year-old boy and the son of a Marine Corps veteran. He understood the anxieties associated with having a deployed dad. That is when he saw the Daddy Doll Challenge, which was being promoted by Dyal Studios in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It wasn’t long before he had a plan.
A Daddy Doll takes a picture of the deployed parent serving in the military and puts the photo on a plush toy. Jaden has had one with his father on it since he was one year old.
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Jaden knows that these can be beneficial to children, so he is trying to help more kids get their own Hug-A-Hero Doll. “This has given me emotional support,” Jayden says. “It helped me cope with the fact that my dad is a Marine and he was out a lot.”
The money that Jayden has raised has already paid for 95 children to have their own Daddy Doll. He also sends a handwritten letter along with each delivery.
The founder of Daddy Dolls, Tricia Dyal, is thrilled with what Jayden is doing and is offering to match his fundraising efforts.
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