Our Military Kids
Displayed in Linda Davidson’s office are the words that inspire her: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world will be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
Serendipity led Linda to found Our Military Kids in 2004. While she was using her business expertise from her former career at IBM to help a friend organize a military nonprofit organization, she noticed a disturbing trend: When National Guard and Reserve members went overseas, their families suffered a gap in services. Before 9/11, these soldiers were often sent to help after natural disasters. But deployments to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought new problems. Because families of the deployed often did not live close to military bases, they felt isolated. Dips in pay caused by the change from civilian to military duty sometimes forced the elimination of kids’ extracurricular activities.
Our Military Kids fills this gap. Recently, Linda heard from the grandfather of a boy living with his grandparents while his mother was deployed as a medic. He called when his grandson returned from the summer camp arranged by Our Military Kids, tearful with gratitude. “He had been afraid the boy would hurt himself, but camp refocused him, blew off some of his anger, and gave him new pride in his mom,” Linda recalls.
Linda launched her agency in Virginia, then took it national. But she didn’t stop there. Seeing the invisible wounds of the children of wounded warriors, she included them, too. Our Military Kids has provided $14 million in piano lessons, sports programs, tutoring, and hope to what our brave servicemen and women hold most dear: their children.