Jumping back into the swing of things, I am so very happy to bring to you the third installment in my Military Support Series. In light of April being the Month of the Military Child, I thought what better organization to highlight first this month then Our Military Kids.
Our Military Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide support and recognition to military children. This may include children ages 3 years through the 12th grade of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members, along with children of Wounded and Fallen Warriors from all branches of service. The grants to children pay for fees associated with athletic, fine arts, and tutoring programs. Our Military Kids’ grants keep military children engaged in activities of their choosing, helping to relieve the stress of separation from a parent by providing a positive distraction, minimizing emotional destabilization, building self esteem, and enabling academic achievement.
Our Military Kids provides tangible support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve personnel through grants for sports, fine arts and tutoring that nurture and sustain the children during the time a parent is away in service to our country.
Last month I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and have lunch with Linda Davidson, co-founder of OMK. It was truly amazing to hear the story in person, to talk about the direction and how the direction has grown and changed over the years. To talk about the future and what other things this wonderful organization can accomplish. Starting as a group of people who sought to serve the children of Guard and Reservists in the State of Virginia only, then growing nationwide, and not stopping until OMK began helping the children of Wounded Warriors as well.
me and Linda Davidson
Linda, and the amazing staff, Board of Directors and volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide grants of up to $500 to cover six months of extra-curricular activities for a child of a deployed service member, who is deployed for 120 days or is one of two missions overseas totaling 180 days in a one-year period and there are at least 30 days remaining, and the child will start the activity before they return home. The grants are to support athletic activities, fine arts and also tutoring. Most of us that are military-connected know what its like to have a loved one gone, even if its only for a two week training or field mission. Regardless of the length of time, when it involves children its difficult. Two weeks, two months or a year, to them its all hard. I have personally experienced so many different types of separations and they have all been hard on my children, especially when they are too young to really understand anything. We haven’t been lucky enough to be a recipient (because I didn’t know about OMK!!! Crazy!!), but I know that it would have been such a blessing. One day maybe OMK can expand to include Guard and Reservists families that are in unique situations like prolonged TDYs, Geo-Bachelor, shorter stint missions and more unique situations that I know are out there.
Our Military Kids conducted a survey of recipients (in both the Guard/Reserve and Wounded category) to garner more insight and information into the lives of these families and the effect that it has.
- 82% noticed an increase in the stress or anxiety level of their child during the parent’s deployment
- 97% indicated that participating in an activity benefited their child
- 100% found the grant application process easy
- 99% reported that participatin significantly contributed to the overall well-being of the entire family
- 99% thought the Our Military Kids program should be continued and made available to other families
My little Military Kid
If they surveyed me I’m sure they would find very similar responses. My kids are involved in Martial Arts and Awana. I know that having those things, that pattern, that stability in their lives is incredibly valuable to my children. The support that they find, that is extremely difficult for those of us not attached to a larger unit and/or on a substantial base is beyond words.
To learn more about Our Military Kids, please visit their website and here are some special links!
Press Release – Business support OMK (if you’re in the VA read this!!!)
Donate to Our Military Kids
Vehicle Donation Program
Our Military Kids Facebook
Our Military Kids Twitter