The Need

Imagine being 7-years old. You’re just learning about life and are reliant upon your parents or guardians for everything. Imagine if one (or both) of those guardians disappeared overnight. What would that feel like? You’d likely be confused, scared, uncertain, sad, maybe even angry.

Just since 2001, more than 2 million children have gone through this very thing at least once. Many of them have gone through it multiple times.


Children with deployed parents or guardians experience higher than average rates of mental health issues, trauma and more than 30% reported feeling sad or hopeless (with 1 in 4 reportedly having considered suicide).

And this doesn’t take into account the effect that prolonged deployments have on spouses, with more than 36% of women having at least one mental health diagnosis.


The struggle that military families go through is very real, and they need our support.

We invite you to put yourself in a military child’s shoes. As they silently shoulder the burden of fear and uncertainty. As they watch their mother cry herself to sleep at night. As they struggle with making friends because they move every 2 years. And as they experience exciting milestones in life, without the presence of their deployed parent or guardian.

If this touched your heart – make a decision now to help support these families. We are not a large charity with millions of dollars and a big team. We are small by design. But we need your support so we can continue our grassroots, hands-on approach to offering comfort, education, training and support to the people who need it most: our military families. 

For as little as $25, we know how to make a difference in the life of a military family. Will you help us?


Meet the Team



Carol Watanabe
Executive Director
Board President


Ray Amanat
Fitness Program Director


Michael Smith
Volunteer Photographer
Board Member




Jessica Kremer
LPE Volunteer Coordinator


Board Members

Sherry Farmer Hebert, Treasurer
Sally Weigel, Program Assistant
Col. Ines White (ret.)
Co. Michael Smith (USAF ret.)




Little Patriots Embraced just absolutely blew me away. You were incredible and I cannot THANK YOU ENOUGH for everything you did to help make the Fall Fest a wonderful event!
-Keri Anne Smialek, Family and Morale, Ft. Leonard Wood


The families I spoke to were just blown away by your generosity and true care for our kids who do face unique challenges as children of active duty service members. My 4-year old still sleeps with his LPE teddy bear! We are so grateful that you all were willing to bring your entire team to Ft. Campbell. 
-Lori Sylvia, Senior FRG Adviser, Ft. Campbell


Thank you so much for your concern and care of our military community. Your organization does a tremendous job!
-Sandra K.


I am so grateful for the smiles I’m seeing on my Little Patriots right now because of the bears you sent them. Thank you!


The kids received the two lil’ bears today! My son (who has autism spectrum) said it means so much that someone cares about “us military kids”. He feels like because we are National Guard on our 5th deployment no one understands him. So receiving something that’s tangible means a lot. THANK YOU very much!


Thank you for making them feel like others appreciate their sacrifices…that alone is priceless.
-The Steinbeck Family


Thank you so very much, my son loves his bear! This is an amazing program thank you for all you do.
-Dana H.


Thank you so much! My kids received their package with their bear last night and my oldest, who’s 6, was so happy he cried. This is our 1st deployment & it hasn’t been easy. Again thank you!

Volunteer with Us


LPE is seeking volunteers in our Kirkwood, Missouri office. 
The following volunteer positions are currently open:


Must be over 18 years of age.

Duties: sorting through daily emails, answering the phone, and assisting with any current events or programs, including shipping out our Deployment packages. 

Office Hours: 9:30-4:30 Monday - Friday. 

Seeking a commitment of 2-3 days a week. 



We are seeking a volunteer who has corporate as well as other fundraising experience, to help us with our fundraising efforts.

For more information contact Carol at 314-821-5800. 


If you are seeking an internship we would like to meet you! We have intern positions in the following departments:

  • Marketing (including website management and social media)
  • Youth Programs
  • Operations

Email us and tell us why you would be a good fit for Little Patriots Embraced. 
Please use the Subject: Internship.


Become a Young Ambassador

LPE is seeking young people to assist in our Military Youth Tour Programs. Before you apply, be sure to read more about our Project Bear Essentials and Military Kids Fit For Life programs.

This is an amazing opportunity to work with children and travel several times each year taking part in our programs at Military bases and installations throughout the country! 

If you’re interested in becoming a Young Ambassador for LPE, and you agree with the requirements and duties stated below, please submit the form and we will contact you for an interview. 


  • Male or female 15-20 years old.
  • Agree and promise to represent LPE in a positive manner in your community and wherever you travel throughout the USA.
  • Must commit to occasional travel with our LPE Military Youth Tour. All expenses paid. 
  • Be attending school, and currently (and over the last year) maintain a B or higher grade point average. 
  • Parents written permission required to become a Young Ambassador, and to travel with LPE. 
  • Assist with our LPE programs on Military bases, includes reading to children, assisting with art projects, and assisting where needed in our Military Kids Fit For Life program
  • Agree to an in-person, live video or phone interview where LPE will determine your ability to assist in our Young Ambassador program. 

Contact us if you have questions, suggestions or want to get involved!