Kick It

September 14, 2015

Self-esteem issues and separation anxiety are just two of the side effects children can face when a parent leaves for deployment. Ernest was no different in 2013 when his father deployed for a year. At first Ernest struggled with not seeing his father and talked about him a lot in school. The other children in his preschool would walk in with their fathers and it would take a toll on Ernest. During the deployment, Ernest’s mother, Erikka, did not think they would have the financial means to have her son participate in extracurricular activities. Thankfully, with the help of Our Military Kids, Erikka was able to place her son in soccer. Being in soccer helped in to be more social as well as interact with other fathers on the team. The other fathers made sure to keep Ernest involved in activities so he never felt left out. “It brought us all together and he felt so special,” said Erikka as she remembered the experience for her “star player.” Soccer brought the whole family together during the deployment. Grandparents and Great Grandparents would go to the games to watch Ernest play and he was so excited to show his father his moves on the field as soon as the deployment was over. “[Soccer] it showed my son how much support he really had, which helped tremendously with his self-esteem and separation anxiety,” Erikka praised the help Our Military Kids gave her family. “Although having family to support us through this time was amazing, having some of the financial hardship taken away by receiving this grant provided not only relief but also a never ending smile on my son’s face.  He truly enjoyed learning the sport of soccer and went on to play soccer each summer until he was 5 ½.  Thank you for allowing my son the experience of being a part of such a great program.  His father was also thrilled at the support we received while he overseas.”   Ernest2