COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Our Military Kids is a nonprofit organization that provides extracurricular activity grants for children of currently deployed service members or wounded soldiers. The children can pick any activity or sport they are interested in.
Michelle Criqui, the Marketing and Communications Manager at Our Military Kids and a former recipient of the grants, said the grants give the children and parents something to look forward to.
“It gives them a chance to relieve some of that stress and build friendships and confidence during a time that is often difficult. During a parents deployment overseas or recovery from combat related injuries,” said Criqui.
The organization began following the deployments that took place after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The grants are provided year round and children of deployed soldiers receive one grant per deployment. Children who have a severely injured parent receive a grant every six months for up to four total grants per child. Each grant a child receives is $300.
Each child receives a grant package when receiving the financial support. Inside is a personalized grant certificate, dog tag, patches, and other things to ensure the child feels encouraged.
“Knowing that these kids can feel that we care for them, that we’re looking out for them is what matters most to me. It’s what makes this work worth doing because it lets them know we’re thinking about them. They’re not forgotten and they deserve to have fun and be kids and to relieve some of that weight that’s on their shoulders,” said Criqui.
Randilynn Cornavaca, the wife of a retired Army veteran, has received grants for all three of her children. Her son, James and Christian Cornavaca, have received grants for the past three years and have participated in activities like soccer camp and horseback riding lessons.
“They all want to do more than one thing each season so knowing that I can get help from Our Military Kids to help go towards the funds. These days sports and camps are not cheap and when they all want to do one it just really helps that I know I get support from donors to help the kids out,” said Mrs. Cornavaca.
She said her favorite part is seeing the joy on her kids’ faces when they participate in different summer camps and lessons. James and Christian, ages 13 and 6, say they’re appreciative of all the help they have received because it has allowed them to participate in many activities which they love.
“Thanks for helping us, thanks for supporting us and thanks for the donations,” said James.
To donate or apply for a grant please visit, www.ourmilitarykids.org.