Operation Homefront is a non-profit organization established in 2002, set up to help military families.  According to their website, 92% off the funds they raise go directly to the immediate families of our nations fighting men and women.  These are the sons, daughters, and spouses the bravest people in the world.  Without their support, our armed forces would be nearly as strong.  Operation Homefront realized the stress of moving every few years, and having a member of the family that may have to leave at a moments notice was very stressful for this crucial support system.  In response, the charity has launched several programs aimed at combating the isolation that type of life can create.

One such program is called the Military Child of the Year Award.  The MCYA is a recognition program for awesome kids of servicemen and women who have sacrificed friendships, social lives, and generally uprooted themselves over and over when the family redeploys.  This award really recognizes that in a military family, it is the entire unit that serves.  According to the website, nominees must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and meet these requirements:

  • Experienced at least one parent deploy for 29 months or more.
  • Volunteered with service groups an average of 370 hours during the year.
  • Maintained above average grades, often with honors.
  • Excelled in sports, theatre and/or music.
  • Held leadership positions in school and community groups

Seven kids in total will win this award.  The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard will each have a child chosen to represent them at a gala in their honor, to be held in Washing D.C.  A seventh child will be picked to represent innovation based on their entries explaining creative solutions for issues from around the world.  Each winner be flown to our nation's capitol April 18th through the 20th with a guardian.  The senior leaders of each branch of service present the awards themselves at the gala, and each child will receive a $10,000 prize, along with a laptop computer, and lots of other donated prizes.

I was an Army brat, and I can testify that it can be very hard to say goodbye to your friends and try to make new ones again and again.  I was glad to do it, and I am very proud that I was able to help my dad serve this country in that way.  If you know a kid that qualifies for this award, please nominate them by clicking here.