Just Announced: Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year® Award Recipients. Join us in sending these incredible young people your best wishes and congratulations.

Send A Note
Get help now


Charlotte Tama Wants to Empower Girls in STEM

By Operation Homefront

April 1, 2024

Charlotte Tama Named 2024 Coast Guard Military Child of the Year®

Growing up in a military family opens a world of adventure and instills resilience, said Charlotte Tama, Operation Homefront’s 2024 Military Child of the Year® Award recipient for the Coast Guard. 

“Not many other kids get to experience life in five-plus cities and on both coasts of the country,” said Charlotte, adding that she has lived within driving distance of the mountains of Tahoe, a ferry ride from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and just a mile from the White House, all in less than a decade.  

Our nation’s capital is currently home to Charlotte, her 16-year-old sister, and their parents – Sarah and U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jason Tama. Charlotte, 18, is a senior at the School Without Walls in Washington, D.C.  

“My moves have given me incredible memories as well as a sense of perspective that I feel is unique to military kids, and I feel so grateful for that,” she said. 

Through six permanent change of station moves during her father’s career, Charlotte has enjoyed indelible experiences such as marching with Coasties in the New York City Veterans Day parade and viewing Fourth of July fireworks from the deck of a Coast Guard ship in the New York Harbor. 

Relocating also brought challenges. Charlotte learned that the key to adjusting is engaging in school, sports, extracurricular activities, and community service groups.  

“Getting involved … will help you form connections in your new community and make a new place feel more like home,” she said. 

The Tama family was stationed in New York when Charlotte was in middle school, and the COVID-19 pandemic besieged the city. In response, Charlotte and her sister joined fellow students to found their school’s Junior Giving Circle. Through the organization, students of all grade levels created crafts to gift to healthcare workers on Staten Island.  

“Throughout the years of being a military family, we’ve learned how to involve ourselves in our communities, and we’ve learned that giving back is a really great way to get involved,” she said, adding that Staten Island became her favorite duty station because her family lived on base there.  

“It was special for me to be able to view Coast Guard life from a firsthand perspective in a way I hadn’t had the chance to before,” she said. “The military community adds a whole extra dimension to your life, which is something that civilians don’t get to experience.” 

The other military children and their families rallied around Charlotte as she struggled to prove her soccer skills on a tight-knit new team with an intense coach whose style rattled her confidence. With their support, she remained determined and, after two years of hard work, she joined the starting lineup on one of New York City’s highest-performing soccer teams.  

Charlotte has established herself as a leader on the soccer field. As team captain, she helped lead her teammates to a city championship over a rival high school team that had gone undefeated in championship play for the past 13 years. She applies her aptitude for math and physics as a volunteer online tutor, where she has impacted nearly 200 students from over 17 different countries. This work includes developing boot camps to help students prepare for the SAT.  

Additionally, she’s taught and inspired hundreds of children as an explainer at the National Air and Space Museum. She also coordinated a backpack drive in Washington, D.C., and spearheaded promotions for a drive that raised $2,000 for a nonprofit organization that serves vulnerable people in the area.  

After high school, she plans to study physics and is still weighing college options. Her goal is to pursue a career in education so she can share her passion for physics, math, and astronomy and empower young girls to pursue careers in STEM.  

Charlotte and the other 2024 Military Child of the Year Award recipients will be recognized at a gala in Washington, D.C., in April, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards. Award recipients also will receive $10,000 each, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts. 

Collectively, the seven 2024 recipients logged 3,667 volunteer hours in the 12 months before nominations. Altogether, they have experienced 37 permanent changes of station and lived through 247 months of deployments.   

Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year program, now in its 16th year, recognizes outstanding teens in each branch of the armed forces for criteria that include their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership and extracurricular involvement while facing the challenges of military family life.  

Service/Leadership Highlights 

  • Team captain, School Without Walls High School varsity soccer 
  • All-League Award, 2023 DCIAA Girls Soccer 
  • National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation 
  • AP Scholar with Distinction 
  • Score of 5 on five AP exams 
  • 195+ community service hours 
  • U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Candidate 
  • Academic Excellence in chemistry and algebra 2 (schoolwide awards) 

Favorite quote: 

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer 

Other Posts

Get help now