OUR MILITARY KIDS X ALPHA INDUSTRIES
Written by: Aiya Madarang
A career of service in the military can send ripple effects throughout the service member’s life, affecting their family members and many close friends. This lifestyle bears down especially hard on children in military families, for whom the inevitable struggles of growing up are paired with the stress of an unconventional and frequently disruptive lifestyle. Long periods of separation from their parent and having to relocate multiple times throughout their adolescence are just a few of the many challenges they face. As a result, military children — 1 out of every 3 that have been affected by military deployment since 9/11 — are more prone to experience mental health issues such as depression and high levels of anxiety.
As recently as June of this year, the National Guard experienced a 45% increase in deployment, prompting a spike in the demand for services to help children of National Guard service members cope. The national non-profit Our Military Kids, founded in 2004, effectively provides these types of services, recognizing that while many resources exist to help support military families, a particular focus on the children of these families is also essential.
The organization provides grants to pay for kids’ extracurricular activities of their own choosing, including music lessons, martial arts, camps, and STEM programs. These activities are shown to significantly boost their self-esteem and confidence, making it easier for them to cope with stress and separation. They have also resulted in improvements in kids’ academic performance, a boost in the family’s overall well-being and happiness, and even enhanced recovery for wounded service members and veterans.
Our Military Kids was built on the idea that that all children, no matter their circumstances, deserve to lead a fulfilling life. It began with a successful pilot program in Virginia and quickly expanded throughout the country and U.S. territories, now supporting all children and youth of active-duty, reserve, and National Guard service members as well as the children of wounded service members from any branch of the military. OMK is completely funded through private and individual donations and has earned the highest scores and ratings from multiple organizations, including a four-star rating with Charity Navigator for three consecutive years, for transparency and accountability.
Today, Our Military Kids has provided millions of dollars in over 61,000 grants for kids across the country. The non-profit has also branched out to sponsor events for military families to enjoy. With the help of Alpha Industries, they’ve sponsored events and field trips such as a day at the Manassas Airshow, a Nationals game, and a day at the Kings Dominion amusement park. As OMK continues to grow, it will continue to bring together thousands of military families and improve the lives of their children.
To donate today, please click here.