Being a service member in the United States military is never easy. This is true even in times of peace — times we have not known in nearly two decades. Having a service member for a parent or guardian can also be stressful and painful. Children may not always understand the circumstances that force their favorite grown-up into deployment and danger. They do, however, experience the fear, sadness, anger, and other strong emotions that often come with this situation.
Just as active service members and veterans deserve support, so do their kids. They are extremely vulnerable in their own way, and they could use all the help they can get. To that end, a variety of charities have sprung up over the decades to promote child welfare, lift their spirits, and assist their families. Here is some information on Our Military Kids, an excellent and beloved organization of this type.
What is Our Military Kids?
Our Military Kids is a child welfare organization geared specifically to the children of deployed service members and injured veterans. It was founded in 2004 as a response to the 9/11 terror attacks, the War in Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq. After the success of a pilot program in a Winchester-based National Guard unit, it expanded to the rest of Virginia. Our Military Kids now covers families with attachments to all service branches in all 50 states.
As for what exactly they do, they have a unique approach to assisting military families. In their view, the children of service members and veterans face different troubles from other children. Even then, they are still children, and they should be allowed to enjoy their childhood regardless of those circumstances. Our Military Kids can help by covering the cost of an activity that the child would love. If the parent or guardian submits an application, and if the child meets the requirements of the program, they may soon receive a grant of up to $300.
The idea is that doing something they deeply enjoy will occupy the child’s time, energy, and thoughts. Even if just for a moment, they may forget the perilous plight of their parents and experience childhood as it should be. On top of that, involving the child in the process of choosing an activity can give them just a bit of agency. Kids know, on some level, that they have little to no control over their parents’ situation. This little bit can do so much for them.
How to Know If Your Child is Eligible
Our Military Kids has given grants to support the activities of 68,000 children over the past 16 years. The combined amount of donated money that went into these grants exceeds $27 million. Every single one of these youngsters had to meet certain eligibility requirements to receive that assistance. Thankfully, they are only as stringent as needed to stay responsible.
For starters, the child in the application must have a parent in any branch of the armed forces or the National Guard. The deployment must be for a certain amount of time — at least 120 or 180 days, depending on the branch. Alternatively, the parent may be a veteran recovering from injuries sustained in any post-9/11 military conflicts.
The organization only provides funds for families “struggling to deal with financial and emotional hardships.” The idea is that the grants can cover activities that families may not be able to pay for on their own. Finally, the child must be between at least five years old, and they are only eligible “through high school graduation.”
Activities That Grants Could Cover
Our Military Kids strives to improve the lives of children all over America during a particular type of family struggle. To that end, they strive to provide grants for activities based on the positive impact they can have. You can see the different kinds of activities they support in their mission statement. It reads, “Empowering military kids with sports, arts and other activities while their parents are deployed or recovering from severe injuries sustained in combat.”
The Our Stories section of their official website illustrates the different programs on which military families have spent their grant money. Many committed to a wide variety of martial arts, perhaps as a testament to the fighting spirit of their parents. Other children participated in programs for different kinds of sports and athletics, including gymnastics and soccer.
Sports was not the only arena that appealed to the kids of service members. Many of them found that their interests leaned towards more artistic pursuits. Some children signed up for dancing lessons, arguably a middle ground between athletics and the arts. Some participated in theater programs, and some took up a musical instrument.
The stories on their site are just a small selection from the 68,000 children who have benefited from Our Military Kids. The options that participants have are not limited just to the aforementioned kinds of programs. If parents can convince the people processing the application that their chosen activity would contribute to the betterment of the child, then they might receive the go-ahead. That is, after all, what Our Military Kids is all about.
Our Military Kids and No Love 4
In all, Our Military Kids is a fantastic charity with a great mission and a sweet method for achieving that mission. Naturally, as a nonprofit organization, they cannot work their wonders on their own. They rely exclusively on donations from corporate sponsors, foundations, and people like you.
If you want to support them and get something out of it for yourself, then you have come to the right place. Here at No Love 4, we have no love for the suffering of families at the hands of forces beyond their control. That is why 100% of every purchase for any item on our website goes directly to the charity of your choice. Our Military Kids is one of many options. Support them through our website today and get a free piece of merchandise along the way.