Resources in Support of the Military Child Experience

"My Daddy is the greatest!" A proud family congratulates a paratrooper who has just been awarded his Expert Infantryman Badge, as she is held at a ceremony at the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Military Children often find themselves living in many homes and attending multiple schools throughout their lives which typically leads to adaptable, resilient and mature individuals. This unique feature of the Military Child Experience can also act as a common thread amongst Military Children and establish a strong community if introduced and supported appropriately. Therefore, there are multiple programs designated to help build community and security for Military Families, so that their Children can feel empowered to take on every challenge.

Academic/Educational Support for Military Children: 

  1. Army Scholarship FoundationThe Army Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships for undergraduate study to dependents of Soldiers. They award one-year financial scholarships to qualified students, ranging from $500 to $2000. Students can reapply annually. The 2021 application has passed, but applications for 2022 can be submitted from January 15 to April 15, 2022. 
  2. Bonsai Finance Veterans ScholarshipThe Bonsai Finance Veterans Scholarship offers a one-time payment of $1,000 to dependents of Soldiers to cover education costs. They offer this scholarship as a part of their commitment to helping students strive for excellence over the course of their lives. The application timeline begins in early fall of each year. 
  3. Department of Defense Education ActivityDODEA’s goal is “Educating, Engaging, and Empowering military-connected students to succeed in a dynamic world,” and they do this through being a Federally-operated schooling system operating across the country and around the world. This school setup is specifically for Children of Soldiers, and focuses on preparing students academically, professionally, and socially as influential leaders. 
  4. Heroes’ Legacy ScholarshipFisher House honors those who have died or become disabled through active military service since September 11, 2001 by offering the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship. This is open to dependent, unmarried Children under the age of 23 who are enrolled or planning to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program or a community college designed to allow direct transfer into a four-year program. Their next application opens December 13, 2021. 
  5. MG James Ursano Scholarship Program: An AER scholarship, the MG James Ursano Scholarship Program was named in honor of Major General James Joseph Ursano’s life of service to Soldiers and Families. It’s a need-based scholarship for Children of Army Soldiers, who can apply to obtain aid funding their first undergraduate degree. Applicants can reapply on a year-by-year basis. Aid can be received for up to four academic years. 
  6. Pentagon Victims ScholarshipAER offers the Pentagon Victims Scholarship to Children of the Army Soldiers killed or injured in the Pentagon attack on 9/11. All dependents can have their college education completely covered in undergraduate and graduate programs.
  7. Scholarships For Military Children ProgramFisher House, in its goal to recognize and honor and celebrate Military Families’ contributions to “the readiness of the fighting force” has an upcoming scholarship opportunity for high school and college students from Military Families. The application for the 2021-2022 school year opens on December 13, 2021. They are offering 500 scholarship grants, each for $2,000.
  8. Society of Daughters of United States Army Scholarship Program: Society of Daughters of the United States Army is sponsoring a scholarship for undergraduate and post-secondary education for daughters and granddaughters of Soldiers according to their listed military qualifications. They offer a one-year renewable scholarship of $1,500, raising the funds themselves. The next application begins on January 15, 2022. 
  9. Student 2 Student ProgramThe Military Child Education Coalition offers the Student 2 Student program to connect military and civilian students together, help smooth the adjustment to new environments, foster academic excellence, and make life easier for military students and their Families by meeting students’ needs. Once within this program, students can pursue even more specific leadership skills through the week-long Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership program or participate in Student Webinars on being “future-ready,” “bridging the gap,” and more. 
  10. The Veterans United Foundation ScholarshipThe Veterans United Foundation has offered this scholarship every year since 2012. It is offered to Children of fallen Soldiers or Veterans with a 100% service-related disability. The next scholarship application period will begin in early 2022. 


Health and Wellness Resources for Military Children: 

  1. Boys and Girls Club of America: This is a free club that partners with the U.S. Armed Services to allow Children opportunities to high-quality programs and caring mentors, create lifelong friendships, and encourage resilience. The club has specific sports, education, leadership, art, work, and health and wellness programs for military youth to take advantage of. 
  2. Camp Corral: Camp Corral focuses on building up Military Children of wounded, ill, or fallen military heroes through various forms of community building. They do this through camps, advocacy, and enrichment programs, with the goal, “start with the child to serve the family.” They offer a combination of leadership programs, family and kids camps, and holistic services. 
  3. Health and Wellness Coaching for Teens: Military OneSource has free health and wellness coaches for those 13 and up by phone and video, knowing that in post-covid times, teens are more isolated than ever. These coaches help adolescents with health and stress management, tracking their progress as they work together towards adolescents’ personal goals. 
  4. Hidden Helpers: Hidden Helpers, organized through the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, allows Military Children and youth to have a way to voice their stress, anxiety, frustration, and heartache. They emphasize the need to listen to these struggles and find new ways to overcome the gaps in support and services for military caregiver kids. 
  5. Military Kids Connect: The Military Kids Connect website has many resources for kids to improve health and wellness, relationships, and deal with the specific stressors of military life. They have videos dissecting different topics of interest in these areas, and there is a well-regulated chat room for military kids to connect with their community. 
  6. Operation Purple Camp: Military kids have access to a free week-long camp through National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Camp. At this camp, military kids can connect with each other through arts and crafts and outdoor activities. There are also trained counselors and staff members ready to help Children adapt and overcome the stressors of military life. 
  7. Our Military Kids: This program supports military kids through funding extracurricular activities like sports and the arts while a parent is deployed with the National Guard or Reserve or recovering from serious injuries from a post-9/11 overseas mission. The goal of the program is to help Military Children cope with stress and build confidence.
  8. The Exceptional Family Member Program: Every military installation has a Military and Family Support Center, and through this center, many resources for Children and adolescents can be accessed. The Exceptional Family Member Program is specifically for those with special needs and provides support through funds and resources for Children as well as other special needs Family members. 
  9. The Barry Robinson Center: The Barry Robinson Center has provided a safe, holistic setting for Children, teens, and families to pursue healing and improve their mental health. Lisa Howard, the Associate Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Engagement, is very familiar with raising a special needs child in the military culture, and she stresses the importance of community connection—specifically military community connectionwithin their residential treatment facility. 

Whether it’s through scholarships or community-building, there are several sources for Military Children to help feel connected and empowered. If you are a Military Child or Parent, take advantage of the support available to you and your Family. 

ICYMI: Join our conversation about the Military Child Experience! We’re talking with Lisa Howard from The Barry Robinson Project.

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