The National Guard recognizes that the dedication and commitment of National Guard Families directly contribute to the readiness of the force. Families are the force behind the force.
Over the years, the National Guard has demonstrated its commitment to Guard Families by implementing a host of programs specifically geared toward serving Guard Families. One such program is Our Military Kids, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and supporting children of deployed National Guard service members and children of wounded warriors from all Service branches.
Since 9/11, two million children have been affected by wartime deployment. One-third of those children are at high risk for psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. To help children cope with the stress and anxiety that can come with their parents recovering or deploying, Our Military Kids awards grants to military children to be used toward a variety of recreational and academic activities. The grants cover fees for activities such as sports, camps, fine arts programs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and tutoring programs. Each grant may be up to $500 and covers up to six months of activity per child.
Founded in 2004, Our Military Kids has given out more than 65,000 grants, totaling $26 million, to children of service members from across the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. The grants have made positive and lasting impacts on receiving Families. According to Our Military Kids’ 2017 survey, 98 percent of Families who received a grant saw an improvement in the entire Family’s well-being and 94 percent saw a decrease in their child’s stress and anxiety.
Qualifying children must have a parent who is a National Guard service member currently deployed overseas, and the deployment must be at least 180 days (or 120 days for Air National Guard). When applying, there must be at least 60 days remaining on the parent’s orders (or 30 days for the Air National Guard). Children must be at least five years old and in grades K through 12 to qualify.
For children of the wounded to qualify for the grant, the service member/Veteran must have sustained combat-related injuries while deployed in support of any post-9/11 overseas contingency operation. The service member must be classified as severely injured in one of the six categories designated by the Department of Veterans Affairs and have a case manager who is able to certify the information in writing.
Grant checks are issued directly to the organization providing the activity or tutoring service. Ineligible programs include school tuition, religious mission trips and childcare. To apply for a grant, eligible Families must complete and submit a one-page application along with all required documents.
For a full list of required application documents, eligible activities and detailed information about Our Military Kids, go to OurMilitaryKids.org.
By Staff Writer Tatyana White-Jenkins