Homefront Panel Discussion on Caring for Military Children April 12, 2022


In honor of the Month of the Military Child, Shine Global hosted free panel discussions and virtual viewings of Through Our Eyes: Homefront,  our short documentary illustrating the impact of military service through the eyes of three children from across the country.  In the first panel, Homefront director Kristi Jacobson was joined by Headstrong CEO Jim McDonough, Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet, and Travis Manion Foundation President Ryan Manion for a discussion about the film and the mental well-being of veterans and their families. The conversation was moderated by Former Acting Secretary of the Army Honorable Patrick J. Murphy.

The panelists discuss what led them to become active in veterans’ rights, difficulties vets returning from deployment face, community supports needed to ease their reentry, how they are impacted by wounds suffered during active duty and the collateral damage experienced by family members, and what communities can do to ease their transition and provide services to themselves and their family members.


Select quotes from the conversation include:

  • Mental health is as important as physical health.”  – Honorable Patrick J. Murphy, Former Acting Secretary of the Army
  • “We’re turning our attention to…the mental health of military youth. We have an opportunity to understand that children themselves and the young adults themselves are protagonists. They’re not the adjunct, not the accessory to the veteran.” – Kathy Roth-Douquet, Blue Star Families CEO
  • “I love how we have destigmatized the idea of mental health…this is not what I grew up with,” – Ryan Manion, Travis Manion Foundation President
  • “The biggest enemy we all face…is that you can be eligible for this here but ineligible for this there. A really accessible practice that creates no barriers, no artificial stigma around accessing its resources is the best antidote to what ails people with mental health needs.” –  Headstrong CEO Jim McDonough  

Shine Global is also pleased to offer this free companion discussion guide to the Through Our Eyes: Homefront documentary for viewers to download.  The film is now available to watch on HBOMax as part of the Through Our Eyes documentary series from Sesame Workshop.

In the US, more than three million children live in homes with servicemembers and veterans who rely on caregiver support. In HOMEFRONT, three children of veteran families cope with the emotional impact of having a wounded parent, navigate the unique challenges of visible and invisible injuries sustained during military service, and together journey toward collective healing.

Gabby, Terry, and Luther all have parents who were injured while serving, and each family has found a way to heal the wounds of war. Homefront shows how Gabby (9), a fierce animal lover with a stock of chickens, rabbits, bees, and dogs, loves her family and faces her fears about her Dad’s traumatic brain injury and PTSD via equine therapy. Terry (10), an enthusiastic boy and his parents, Taniki and Brandon, share their experiences and mental health struggles as they work to heal and help each other cope with depression and PTSD through honest conversation and embracing joy. Luther (9) is a charismatic boy who wants to be “like my dad when I grow up.” His father, Joe, a Navy veteran who lost his leg in an IED explosion, struggles through chronic pain to put family first.

*You can download free curricula for Shine Global’s other films here.

Shine Global is an award-winning non-profit media company that gives voice to children and their families by sharing their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about at-risk children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on capitol hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.