What is the West Virginia Operation: Military Kids Program?
West Virginia’s OMK program is a collaborative effort to provide support to military children in our communities that have been impacted by deployment and the Global War on Terror. We work to ensure that an effort is made to create a smooth transition through the deployment process by offering fun, social, and educational experiences to military children.
West Virginia OMK supports deployed National Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty Soldiers’ children living in communities across our state by:
- Helping to create networks of people, organizations, and other resources to help support military children
- Helping children better understand and cope with military life, family member deployment and reintegration, as well as the unique challenges facing their families
- Offering a wide array of recreational, social, and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities
- Educate and increase community awareness of the impact of the deployment cycle on soldiers, families, kids, and the community as a whole
Major Components of WV OMK:
Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK): SOMK is a youth-led, adult facilitated program that helps increase community awareness of the challenges faced by military youth and their families. The participants include both military and non-military youth who work together to develop presentations, public service announcements, videos, and other materials to share with communities across the state.
Mobile Technology Lab (MTL): The labs are used to facilitate and maintain connections between deployed service members and their children. The lab contains laptop computers, digital and video cameras, printer, scanner, and software to help children and youth send personal messages to their loved ones. The lab can be requested and used by any OMK partner.
Hero Packs: Hero Packs serve as an expression of support towards military families from their communities and OMK partners. Hero Packs are backpacks filled by non-military youth with items designed to help kids connect with their deployed parent and help find positive meaning in their situation.
Ready, Set, Go! Training (RSG): Trained facilitators deliver workshops designed to develop local support networks of youth workers, educators, counselors, and community service agencies. The training offers an insight into military culture and the deployment cycle and suggests way to understand the needs of and provide support to military kids and their families through community resources.