Nonprofit aims to help kids of deployed service members
Posted July 4, 2021 4:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2021 6:43 p.m. EDT
North Carolina is a state with a large military presence. But, sometimes when thinking of those who serve, military family members are forgotten.
Studies show two thirds of kids in military families suffer from stress when their parents are deployed. That’s where the nonprofit, “Our Military Kids” comes in.
16-year-old Ella Forehand is a third-degree black belt and grant recipient of an Our Military Kids grant.
"Taekwondo has been a big part of my life," she said.
It's also a big stress reliever for her when her dad, Brad, was deployed with the National Guard.
"It’s really nice that they do that, especially since one of your parents is gone and that’s usually hard," she added.
Hard emotionally and sometimes even financially, which is where Our Military Kids steps in. The organization provides $300 for extracurricular activities to any child of deployed National Guard and reservists and kids of severely-injured veterans from any branch of military.
Having been deployed three times over the past 24 years in his military career, Brad Forehand wanted to make sure his family was happy and taken care of at home. And he got that with the help of the grant.
"11 years ago I don’t think we were in a financial position to be able to afford something like Taekwondo," he said.
Michelle Criqui works at Our Military Kids and was a grant recipient herself, so she understands how helpful it can be.
"A lot of the time when a parent is deployed, you know, with the financial burden they’d placed on the other parent, extracurricular activities are one of the first things to go." Criqui said. "We’re saying, 'we see you for your service and sacrifice and we want to acknowledge that.'"
Our Military Kids started back in 2004 in Virginia and is run completely by donations. Word has spread and it has since grown to every state in the country. For more information on how you can apply head to their website - ourmilitarykids.org