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Survey Reveals 'Our Military Kids' Grants Significantly Improve Lives

OAKTON, Va., July 2, 2021 -- Our Military Kids (OMK), a national 501(c)(3), today revealed research results that identify the significant and positive impact of extracurricular activities on military children whose parent(s) are either deployed with the National Guard or Reserve or severely injured. The study concluded that military families are better able to cope with stressors unique to military life when they are acknowledged for their sacrifices and can derive meaning from their situations.

According to the study, which surveyed families whose children received grants from Our Military Kids during 2020, more than two-thirds of children with a severely injured or deployed parent experience at least one symptom of psychological stress. Research concluded that building a sense of community through extracurricular participation is one of the major ways military families experience overall improvements in wellbeing.

"It has been repeatedly shown that extracurricular activity improves children's lives academically, socially, and psychologically," said OMK Executive Director and U.S. Navy Veteran Kara Dallman. "Now, we know to what extent that is true particularly for military families."

Our Military Kids programs are funded through corporate and individual donations. In 2020, OMK provided $1 million in grants to help supplement the cost of activities such as sports, music lessons, and STEM enrichment. The majority of grant recipients are National Guard and Reserve families who often do not have the same access to resources as active-duty service members.

The Villarreal family is one of the many who have experienced the life-changing benefit of an OMK grant. U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Geronima "Lani" Villarreal was injured in Iraq. Her son Isaiah, 15, was nominated by a teacher and awarded an OMK Courageous Kids 2020 honor. The Villarreal's story, seen here in a video produced by the Emmy-winning PenFed Digital team, highlights the positive impact of extracurriculars and the role organizations like OMK have on improving the quality of life for the Nation's National Guard and Reserve members and their families. To see photos of military kids participating in extracurriculars funded by OMK, as well as survey results please click here.

Our Military Kids' goal is to increase both the grant award amount and the number of families they are able to support. Our Military Kids is a GuideStar Platinum Participant and a Charity Navigator four-star charity. Tax-deductible donations can be made at

Our Military Kids, Inc. supports military children (ages 3-18) by funding sports, arts, tutoring, and other enrichment activities while a parent is deployed overseas with the National Guard, deployed with the Reserve, or recovering from severe combat-related injuries sustained in a post-9/11 mission. Participation in these activities has been proven to help children cope with stress and build self-confidence during an otherwise difficult time in their lives. For more information, please visit or contact Michelle Criqui at [email protected].

SOURCE PenFed Credit Union

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