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Article - Military Kids: Responding to Their Grief

Birthday gift - A Soldier's Child
Soldier's Child Birthday Foundation was established to stand by the children of the military men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our lives and our country's freedom. Our benefits are available to the children, 19 years of age and younger, whose parent, from any branch of the military, lost his or her life while on active duty.

With humility as parents, we aim to keep the legacy of the soldier alive by celebrating the birthday of his or her children. Recipients will receive a gift from ASC on each birthday through age 19.

Blanket - Project Linus
Project Linus comforts by providing handmade blankets to children in countries around the world who have survived the ravages of war and destruction. Post September 11, 2001, chapters all over the United States were providing blankets to children in New York and Washington to let them know someone cared.

In January 2002, Marleen Manley, Coordinator of the Northwest Atlanta Chapter, believed this effort should be continued for every child who had lost a parent in the war on terror. She became the national coordinator in the effort to comfort the children of our fallen heroes with the gift of a handmade blanket. The task involves researching every soldier killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to determine if they had children and if so, where they are currently living. Once determined, Marleen contacts the Project Linus coordinator closest to the family and provides them with information on the children in order for them to pick the perfect blanket. If there is no coordinator in that area, the Northwest Atlanta Chapter provides the blankets.

Camps, etc. for children - A Soldier's Child Journey Camp
ASC Journey Camp goals: to bring together children of fallen soldiers; help children form friendships with other children who have a similar experience (the loss of a military parent); letting kids just be kids while having a blast for a week. We have so much fun we don’t need to spend much time on grief counseling.

YMCA Camp Widjiwagon, Nashville Tennessee

Free. Open to children between the ages of 10 – 14 who live in Tennessee or bordering states. Limited space available (only the first 30 children registered will be accepted).

Camps, etc. for children - Camp Erin
Camp Erin, created and funded by The Moyer Foundation, is the largest nationwide network of free bereavement camps for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

It is a weekend-long experience filled with traditional, fun, camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support -- facilitated by grief professionals and trained volunteers. 

At Camp Erin, children are comforted knowing that there are other children who have experienced similar situations and understand exactly what they are feeling. At Camp Erin, children have an opportunity to address their feelings and memorialize their loved ones. They are provided with the tools and resources needed during and after camp, including memories and friendships that last long after camp is complete. 

Each Camp Erin is facilitated through a long-term partnership with a local bereavement agency. Together, these organizations and The Moyer Foundation raise funds to help bring the healing experience of Camp Erin to children each year.

In 2011, The Moyer Foundation is proud to partner with the United Service Organizations (USO) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to bring the first ever Camp Erin/TAPS grief camps designed specifically for those children grieving the loss of their parent or sibling who served in the Armed Forces.

Camps, etc. for children - Camp Life!
Camp Life! is a non-profit connecting families of fallen heroes through a summer camp experience providing encouragement, inspiration and adventure.

Camps, etc. for children - Colors of Heroes Foundation
Outdoor adventures for Gold Star families and combat wounded veterans - Colors of Heroes Foundation was thought of years ago when the founders went on a hunting trip with Bob and Cathy Duhadaway. The therapeutic value of being in the outdoors was priceless for Robb's recovery. Robb wanted to reach out to other families that are also struggling. One day, while in conversation with Ivan Carter of Safari Classics and Dan Catlin of The Wildlife Gallery, the idea of auctioning off Robb's combat helmet to raise money to take children of fallen soldiers on a hunt was raised. The helmet was auctioned off at the Dallas Safari Club International convention. Robb was hoping to get enough to take two children on a hunt. Amazingly, the helmet was auctioned off, returned, and auctioned off again raising enough funding to start The Gustafson's Colors of Heroes Foundation. 

Camps, etc. for children - Comfort Zone Camp
Comfort Zone Camp is a nonprofit bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The free camps include confidence building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. Comfort Zone Camps are offered to children 7-17, and are held year-round across the country. We have offices in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Camps, etc. for children - Good Grief Camp
TAPS offers regional and national Good Grief Camps to children and teens; providing them with a safe and supportive atmosphere to conduct activities and have opportunities to learn coping skills, establish and identify support systems and create awareness that they are not alone in the grief of their loved one. Children and teens meet others of their own age group to share and learn, together.

A Day at the TAPS Good Grief Camp
  • TAPS Good Grief Camp Team Leaders will conduct a day of activities for children of all ages, providing a safe place to learn about grief, share feelings, express emotions and heal young hearts.
  • Children will meet others their own age who are also grieving and have the chance, in facilitated groups, to learn that they are not alone in their feelings.
  • Through special activities we call “grief work,” the children will have fun while discovering how to cope with the pain they are experiencing.
  • The children will end the day by creating a network of care to lean on as they move forward.

Camps, etc. for children - Guide On Leadership Camps
Guide On supports the families of fallen American Military Heroes. We provide leadership training and outdoor experience to children who have lost their adult role models. Guide On is an organization where children who have been affected by the loss of a military parent will be provided with leadership and skills training along with peers who have shared similar experiences. Professional staff will provide the leadership training, oversight and support for children attending Guide On Leadership Camps.

Camps, etc. for children - Knights of Heroes
The Knights of Heroes mission is to provide young men who have lost their fathers in military service the opportunity to experience character building events with the positive support of a male mentor.

Boys are given the opportunity to develop lasting friendships with similarly situated boys from across the country while participating in exciting outdoor activities in Colorado. The four elements of the "knight's code" are instilled through exposure to caring and compassionate men in an outdoor high adventure setting.

Families with boys between the ages of 10 and 17 are invited to attend at absolutely no cost. While the boys are at camp, the moms and daughters spend the week visiting sights in and around Colorado Springs. Lodging and travel arrangements are made for the families that attend from outside the local area. 

Activities for the moms and daughters take place throughout the week. The camp was founded on Christian faith, but is not a Bible camp. Boys of all beliefs and from every background are welcome.

Camps, etc. for children - Operation 300
Operation 300 is a not for profit organization that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service.

The camps provide an opportunity to participate in activities that embody the spirit of adventure that characterized the lives of their absent fathers while fostering a culture of courage, strength, freedom, endurance, honor and godly morality embodied by fearless patriots throughout the history of our American Republic.

Camps, etc. for children - The Little Warriors - A Brian Bill Project
(for children of Naval Special Warfare)
The Little Warriors A Brian Bill Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing outdoor adventure to the children of Naval Special Warfare (current, former, retired, KIA families).

Canyoneering in Moab, UT - April 2013   The Little Warriors A Brian Bill Project is working with Outward Bound to bring the best possible adventure to you.

Canyoneering is the sport of exploring and navigating rugged, often steep-walled, and narrow canyons. Nowhere is this sport more challenging than in Utah, whose spectacular terrain features huge mesas, towering mountains, ancient rock paintings and cliff dwellings of Native Americans. Open deserts have been carved by rivers into deep canyons, ravines, and precipitous drops, that require you to rappel down sections of these slot canyons. Outward Bound’s canyoneering trips take you far beyond hiking camps and hiking adventures, into some of the most fragile environments and inspiring landscapes.

Experience Moab on this extraordinary expedition, combining a beautiful and challenging environment, with activities that place an emphasis on individual growth and community.

Registration is NOW OPEN for children aged 12 and up. Spaces are limited, so please RSVP as soon as possible. We hope to see you in Moab!

Christmas, Christmas in July - Operation Ensuring Christmas
Operation Ensuring Christmas provides financial, moral and rehabilitative support to the Children of Fallen American Troops by providing them Christmas gift cards at Christmas and a ‘Christmas in July’, VIP theme park trip to Orlando, Florida. This support is to help them recover from the grief and trauma caused by the ultimate sacrifice a child can make for their country...the loss of a parent in war.

DVD resource kit - When Families Grieve (Sesame Street)
Talk, Listen, Connect: When Families Grieve is a DVD resource kit featuring Elmo and the Sesame Street Muppets, and the courageous stories of families who have experienced the death of a parent. The bilingual (English and Spanish) kit includes a DVD, children’s storybook, and guide for parents and caregivers. The kit gives families tools to support children coping with the death of a parent, while also providing reassurance that together with their families they can learn ways of being there for each other and move forward.

Grief comfort kit - Trevor Romain Memory Box Grief Comfort Kit 
This Trevor Romain comfort kit for kids is centered on the Parents Choice Gold Award-winning DVD, What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? The DVD uses gentle humor, original music, and a compassionate storyline to pass along practical and helpful advice for kids. Despite the serious subject matter, kids of all ages are enlightened and encouraged as Trevor's characters learn how to move towards grief instead of running away from it.

The kit includes: 
  • What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? (DVD)
  • What On Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? (book)
  • A journal for self-expression with original artwork and writing prompts 
  • Coco™, a plush animal offering comfort and companionship 
  • Helping Children Cope With Loss (booklet for caregivers) 
  • A letter from Coco and set of colored pencils
  • A special memory box to protect treasured keepsakes

Hug-A-Hero Doll (Operation Hug a Hero)
Give a little homeland security. The mission of Operation Hug-A-Hero® (OHAH) is to help comfort the children of our American Heroes working valiantly in support of our nation’s homeland security by providing them with a free Hug-A-Hero® doll. The vision of Operation Hug-A-Hero is to provide a Hug-A-Hero doll to every child, regardless of need, of a deploying or fallen military service member and those who support our nation’s homeland security efforts in a proactive and timely manner.

Journal - My Life Continued
Health Net Federal Services' children’s initiative launched to provide additional resources to help children successfully navigate the unique challenges of military families face. You may dowload the journals, save, print or link to the journals as often as you like at no cost.

My Life Continued is a bereavement journal for military children who have lost a parent or loved one who served in the military. The journal is a private place to write down thoughts and feelings and was created to help children remember and honor their loved one and help them apply that love in a productive way as they move forward in their lives.

Matthew Bear - The Matthew Freeman Project
We would love to provide bears to all of you who are mourning the loss of someone special. However, we are a very small group and are doing this just for fallen service member’s families and those who have died in the performance of their duties.

Mentoring and developmental activities - Angels of America's Fallen
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we serve children of our fallen military and first responders in all 50 states and U.S. Territories.

Our mission is to help children of our fallen military and first responders develop into strong and successful adults by providing them positive mentoring and developmental activities when they are at their most crucial developmental phase of life.

Our vision is to walk alongside the children of our fallen when they need it most, while they are developing, regardless of the cause of their parent's death. Many children fail to qualify for benefits, and fall through the cracks because of their parent's cause of death or unit of assignment. Each child suffers regardless if mom or dad died in a combat zone, training accident, on the job illness, or from suicide as a result of the stress of their jobs. From the child's perspective, the impact is the same, mom or dad is no longer there. No one can ever replace their lost parent, but we can be there for them. 

Online support - Kids Aid
Kids Aid is a safe place for kids to help each other deal with grief and loss. It's a place to deal with feelings in our e-mail support group, to share and view artwork and stories, and for parents and kids to ask questions and find answers. Additional information and resources on grief and bereavement can be found on our mother site www.GriefNet.org.

Other - Got Your Back Network
The Got Your Back Network connects with military families who have lost a spouse or parent while serving our country. Our goal is to give comfort, answer a special need, offer guidance and bring a brighter day.

VFW National Home for Children
The VFW National Home for Children will provide children and families of members of the VFW, its Ladies Auxiliary and active-duty military opportunities for growth and development in a nurturing community, and by doing so, will serve as a living memorial to all veterans. 

Welcome to the online home of the most unique community in the United States of America - the VFW National Home for Children! The National Home is a multi-faceted facility created to care for the developmental, social and spiritual needs of the children and families of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Services are also available for children of active duty military personnel. Our facility is not an orphanage, but a neighborhood of custom homes, service buildings and recreational land administered by a highly devoted staff and fully integrated into its surrounding community.
To be directed to the COMPLETE LISTING of resources for Loved Ones of the Fallen, click HERE.
Resources for the loved ones of fallen warriors
Birthday gift
Camps, etc. for children
Christmas, Christmas in July
DVD resource kit
Grief comfort kit
Hug-A-Hero Doll
Matthew Bear
Mentoring and developmental activities
Online support
VFW National Home for Children
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Copyright 2008 - 2015 Benita Koeman, Operation We Are Here.  All rights reserved.
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