As I’m sure many of you have heard and read, April is the Month of the Military Child. It is a time set aside to celebrate the amazing children who navigate through the ups and downs of military life while we recognize and honor their sacrifices.
Military kids are known for their strength and resilience, dealing with situations that most kids don’t have to worry about — like having a parent done for months at a time and multiple moves. To help ease some of the stress and worry in military kids’ lives, there are many programs and organizations designed with them in mind. These programs provide a range of services from care packages specifically for kids of deployed parents to free summer camps. One such organization, Our Military Kids, provides grants specifically to the children of deployed National Guard and Reserve members, as well as children of Wounded Warriors:
Our Military Kids provides substantial support in the form of grants to the children of National Guard and Military Reserve personnel who are currently deployed overseas, as well as the children of Wounded Warriors in all branches. The grants from Our Military Kids pay for participation in sports, fine arts, camps, and tutoring programs that nurture and sustain children while a parent is away in service to our country or recovering from injury.
Many times when a National Guard or Reserve member is deployed, it creates a financial burden on the families. The families are also typically located far away from a military base and do not have the benefit of any support services that might be offered there. Children of Wounded Warriors face many of these same struggles, in addition to dealing with the injury of their parent. This is where Our Military Kids becomes a life saver, giving these children the opportunity to participate in activities that might otherwise not be available to them due to their family situation.
Our family has personally benefited from the generous support of Our Military Kids. Last year while my husband was deployed to Iraq, both of my kids received grants to attend summer camp. Due to pay issues early in the deployment, our family could not have afforded to send both kids to a week of camp, and the grant allowed them that opportunity.
And it was especially appreciated as it came at a time during the deployment when they needed a break from being military kids. The time they spent at camp gave them a break from the stress at home and kept them busy in fun activities so they did not have time to worry about the deployment.
They also could just be kids, like any other kid at camp. At school they felt singled our and different. But at camp, no one other than the counselors knew their dad was deployed so they were free from the continual questions and comments about missing their dad that they heard at school. Camp allowed them to be a “regular” kid, even if just for a short time.
They also gained independence after having spent a week away from mom, and it gave me a much-needed break from being a “single” parent for awhile. It may have only been a week, but that week refreshed us all so that we could continue to be strong through the remainder of the deployment. And none of this would have been available to us without the generosity of Our Military Kids.
To learn more about the grants provided by Our Military Kids and how to apply, visit the Our Military Kids website.