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A creative outlet for military families

Special Interest Programme / Partner story

Photo by George Pak from Pexels

For military families, deployment is a part of life. Our Military Kids, a US-based not-for-profit organisation, funds activities and programmes to serve school-aged children while their parents are deployed. From music lessons to soccer camp, martial arts training to cooking classes, military children and teens across the country are using their Our Military Kids grants to pursue their passions during a parent’s deployment with the National Guard or Reserve or recovery from combat-related injuries.

“Our goal is to instil pride in our children about their parent’s military career while also recognising their service and sacrifice as military kids,” says Barry Miller, chairman for Our Military Kids Board, and Kara Dallman, executive director.

Indeed, our Military Kids does so by providing grants for children to undertake any extracurricular activity of interest to them. The most popular activities chosen are sports, but grants have also been offered for fine arts and music, dance, camping, cooking classes, tutoring, and other opportunities. Since its foundation in 2004, Our Military Kids has given out more than 80,000 grants worth a total of USD 31 million.

While Captain Curran was deployed, Our Military Kids funded martial arts classes for his two children, Raquel and George. “It gave them a distraction, something to focus on beside the fact that daddy is gone,” says his wife Veronica Curran. “I think it’s good to keep kids active when their parents are away and give them an outlet, a resource to learn and grow and be active and not closed up at home,” says Captain Curran.

In its 2021 annual survey, Our Military Kids found that 96 per cent of respondents reported an improvement in the service member’s morale due to the funding from the organisation, 89 per cent thought the family’s overall wellbeing had improved, and 85 per cent saw an improvement in their child’s mental health.

“My two boys, ten and seven, are taking piano thanks to Our Military Kids,” says one deployed parents. “During our video chats they often play for me to show me how they are progressing. It is very uplifting to know that something good came to them out of my deployment”.

Oak Foundation provides core support to Our Military Kids under the Special Interest Programme (SIP). The SIP grants cover a wide range of fields, including health, humanitarian relief, education, and the arts. They are made to organisations whose activities the Trustees wish to support, irrespective of country or region. To find out more about the SIP, visit our website by clicking here. You can find more about Our Military Kids by clicking here.