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Our Military Kids provides extracurricular grants for children of post-9/11 combat veterans

Siblings Isaiah, 14, and Ayjah, 12, from Florida receive a Our Military Kids grants for cooking lessons. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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Our Military Kids (OMK) supports military children (ages three to 18) by providing grants up to $300 to fund sports, arts and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard, Reserve, or when recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission. Participation in these activities helps military children cope with stress and build self-confidence during an otherwise difficult time in their lives. 

Our Military Kids helps families

Since our founding in 2004, OMK has provided grants to 72,000 military children and teens, totaling $28 million, and the efficacy of our grant making has been validated through thousands of compiled survey responses that show top box improvement to the service member's morale, the family's morale, the child's emotional well-being and the child's academic improvement. 

The COVID-19 global health crisis has added unimaginable stress and hardships for us all, but it has been especially taxing on the families of deployed and severely injured servicemen and women. In 2020, through the generosity of individual, corporate and foundation donors, Our Military Kids gave 3,930 activity grants to children in all 50 states and three territories totaling $1.12 million. 

Based on 2020 data with feedback on nearly 3,000 children, 96% reported an improvement in the service member's morale and/or recovery due to the child's activity, and 89% reported an improvement in overall family well-being. After beginning their Our Military Kids grant activity, 85% of children experienced a decrease in psychological stress and other negative symptoms associated with their parent's deployment or recovery. 

For siblings Isaiah, 14, and Ayjah, 12, from Florida, Our Military Kids grants for cooking lessons meant a chance to gain a lifelong skill and a different perspective while their mother, a U.S. Marine Corps combat medic veteran, recovered from combat-related injuries sustained while she was deployed overseas. 

"Man, (cooking) is so much fun," said Isaiah. "But I didn't realize how exhausting it is to be on your feet and cooking all day. I appreciate you even more, Mom, for doing the things you do." 

Inspired by his mother's service, Isaiah aspires to become a combat medic when he gets older. For now, he and his sister showcase their military kid strength and kindness by supporting their mother through her recovery and utilizing skills they gained in their grant activity to give back. 

"I know how to make mac ‘n cheese from scratch, and now I'm going to make it every single day," said Ayjah. "Now you can just relax, Mommy! My brother and I will cook for you!"? 

Our Military Kids' impact goes beyond providing military children with the gift of the extracurricular activity of their choice, but also recognizing their service and sacrifice on the homefront while their parents serve our nation. Every grant recipient is mailed a "Top Secret" packet along with the check for their chosen activity, which includes a personalized grant certificate, dog tags, and an Our Military Kids patch. 

  • Post 9/11 veterans of any branch of service who have sustained severe combat related injuries in one of the following categories of TBI, PTSD, amputation, severe burns or severe mental health.  
  • Veteran must have a VA rating of at least 30% or more in one of these categories and still be actively engaged in treatment.  
  • For more information on your eligibility criteria, click on the apply page here.

How to apply 

Eligible applicants can visit our website to submit an online application or download a PDF of the application. Hard copy applications are accepted through mail, fax, or email.  

Required documents with application:

  • Case Manager/Medical Practitioner letter on official letterhead verifying the veteran sustained injuries while deployed overseas during a post-9/11 mission and is continuing treatment for their combat related injuries.
  • Individual VA ratings breakdown.
  • DD214.
  • Form of ID for the child (birth certificate, DEERS 1172 form, eBenefits profile page listing dependents).
  • Documentation verifying the cost of the activity (brochure, flyer, registration form).

Learn more about the application process and required documentation by visiting our website.

What to expect after applying 

Once the application is received, it takes two weeks to fully process the grant. If there are any questions or missing documentation, you will be contacted by email or phone call by the Our Military Kids staff. After the grant is approved, the child will receive an approval packet in the mail, which will include a personalized award certificate, dog tags, bracelet, iron-on patch and the check for the activity provider. The veteran family is responsible for hand delivering the check to the activity provider.  

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