TAPS Hosts ‘College Experience’ Program for Teenage Children of America’s Fallen Military Heroes

Teenagers Who Have Lost Parent in Military Gather in D.C. to Learn About Higher Education Options, Financial Aid and Benefits for Surviving Military Children


ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will host its second annual TAPS College Experience from July 22-26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. for high school students grieving the loss of a parent who served in the Armed Forces. The week-long college preparatory retreat program is designed to help the children explore options for higher education and prepare for the college application process in the absence of one of their parents to help guide their future.

The program will teach the students essential skills such as resume building, budgeting, networking and dressing professionally, and will also include workshops on education benefits for children of fallen service members, FAFSA scholarships and tips for applying to and selecting a college. Students will tour prominent schools in the D.C. area, including Georgetown University and the United States Naval Academy. On the final day of the program, students will tour the U.S. Capitol and attend a Congressional reception, where they will have the opportunity to put their newly acquired networking skills to use with members of Congress, partner organizations and experts representing a variety of fields.

“The TAPS College Experience program works closely with the families of America’s fallen service members as they navigate college choices and complicated benefit information,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. “Our surviving military children are extraordinary young adults who have sacrificed so much for our country. We owe it to them to help prepare them as best we can for a successful future, which often begins with decisions about higher education. These children exemplify resilience and will go on to do great things for our country.”

The TAPS College Experience is made possible by the generous support of Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, Lockheed Martin and Rosie’s Gives Back.


  • Wednesday, July 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Students will be outfitted in professional attire at Macy’s Pentagon City with help from congressional staffers and veterans service organization representatives.
  • Thursday, July 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Students will attend a reception on Capitol Hill and network with members of Congress, representatives from partner organizations and experts from a variety of fields.


  • Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder   
  • Ashlynne Haycock, TAPS Deputy Director, Policy and Legislation and surviving daughter of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Haycock and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nichole Haycock
  • Renee Monczynski, TAPS Young Adult Coordinator and surviving spouse of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Steven Monczynski 
  • High school students participating in the TAPS College Experience

To schedule interviews or attend any part of the TAPS College Experience event, please contact Rita Barry-Corke, TAPS Vice President of Media Relations, at rita@taps.org or (860) 304-1807.  

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Since 1994, TAPS has offered support to more than 85,000 survivors of fallen military in the form of peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).