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​USO Family Activity Boxes Support Military Families and Encourage Teens to ‘Wreck This Journal’

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Keeping families connected is something the United Service Organizations (USO) specializes in. For over 75 years, this non-profit has been providing outstanding care to U.S service members with programs that help them stay connected to family, home, and country no matter their circumstance or location.

With locations across the globe, it’s no surprise that incredible ideas come from everywhere. One such idea comes from Senior Programs Manager Dustin Thomas, United Serviceswho has created customized boxes that include comforting items and activities for families.

What’s in the Box?

Each family completes a request form that informs the USO how to hand-design their USO family activity box with specific goodies – with each family receiving a handful of fun activities for the whole family, along with age-specific comfort items selected by the USO.

A fitting addition to the box, specifically for teenagers ages 12-18, is Wreck This Journal Everywhere – a portable, interactive diary that Dustin believes teens of military families find both entertaining and therapeutic.


“This book offers a great way to mark your moments, even if they’re messy,” she explained. “Hopefully, the Wreck This Journal Everywhere books become something they take with them to log their feelings throughout their own experiences.” 

With over 200 locations, Dustin explained, families can meet up at one of the USO’s many centers to complete activities with other families, share their thoughts and/or their experiences by and provide support to one another.

Customized with Care

From craft activities (including instructions and materials) that touch on family challenges, including military families, to individual items like collapsible coffee mugs for parents or plush toys for pre-school aged children, no two boxes are alike! 

All activities, some of which include painted tile collages and wellness geared glitter jars, can be done together at home or with a community of support at nearby USO centers.


“At the end of the day, we want to create a cycle of support for these families, by promoting talking and physical connection between people,” Dustin said. “Assembling and handing out these boxes is another way for the USO to maintain direct contact with the families that we serve.”

The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

Learn more about the USO here!

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