To raise awareness of the culture and contributions of Military Brats & TCKs, and the challenges they face as children and adults. Because everyone needs a place to call home. www.USAbrat.org
Where Your Donation Goes
$10 – Pays for the BRATS buttons we give to BRATS Clubs!
$25 – Pays for the BRATS: Our Journey Home DVD we give to libraries!
$50 – Pays for art supplies used in our Military BRAT Art Camps!
$100 – Pays for the Military BRAT Library books we donate to libraries!
$250 – Pays for one BRATS Club Charter Membership & Kit with positive, brat-culture-specific activities and resources to schools and colleges! (Sponsors receive public signage & attribution.)
$1000 – Pays for one BRATS Educate-the-Educator or Teen Transition Workshop! (Sponsors receive public signage & attribution.)
$5000 – Pays for the shipping and public exhibition of UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show for up to three months! (Sponsors receive public signage & attribution.)
The idea for a non-fiction film about military children took root back in 1998. I was a labor-lawyer-turned-writer feeling a bit out of sorts and "different" from my fellow Americans, but didn't know why. Then one day I discovered I was not alone. There are literally millions of us Military Brats & Third Culture Kids scattered around the world and more are being born every day. We are raised in a separate and distinct culture that affects us deeply in both positive and painful ways. Making this connection to my culture gave me a sense of belonging I had never experienced. This was empowering to a "little girl" who had moved twelve times on three continents, attended three high schools, and lost her father, an Army officer, by the time she was sixteen years old.
Today, we have a film – a nonprofit – and a movement – by and for a group of people whose only "hometowns" are each other. We have more in common with the military children and "global nomads" of other countries than with our fellow citizens. And that is my vision – that the film, the nonprofit, and the movement might be a spark in a global fire of self-awareness and belonging - that from the ashes of war might rise a nation of children committed to peace.
Donna Musil, Executive Director, Brats Without Borders
Writer-Director, BRATS: Our Journey Home
(Note: The cover picture above is not me - it's Gail Dunagan Morrison, a Navy Brat, and "Pier Charlie" the Cat!)
Why It's So Important
According to famed psychologist Abraham Maslow, “belonging” is the third most important human need, behind only food & safety. But that’s a real challenge for Military Brats & TCKs who grow up in multiple countries, schools, and cultures.
Military Brats & TCKs serve their families and country in a myriad of ways – through constant moves, deployments, and other personal sacrifices. Army Brat author Mary Edwards Wertsch revealed in 1991 that these shared experiences create a cultural identity so powerful, it crosses all lines of race, gender, age, and class. In 2006, BWB released BRATS: Our Journey Home, the first feature documentary exploring this phenomenon. Brats young and old lined up in droves to see and share the film with their friends and families, claiming “it put into words what I feel, but can’t express.”
Not everyone liked the painful stories. Some military parents and child-care professionals said they made them feel guilty. Other blamed bad parenting or disregarded the stories because civilians experience similar pain. Some schools and institutions, even Armed Forces Network TV & West Point showed it, but others (including PBS) were too timid.
These strong, but disparate reactions made BWB realize there was a massive gap between what Military Brats & TCKs were feeling and experiencing and what their parents, teachers, and caregivers thought they were feeling and experiencing – especially those who didn’t join the military as adults. As a result, BWB expanded its programming, which now includes Brats Clubs; the BRAT Art Institute art camps and it's Newman's Own Award-winning museum exhibit; university research projects; educational & transition workshops for parents, professionals, and teens; and documentaries about the intergenerational effects of combat-PTSD and integration on military children.
It hasn’t been easy. BWB deals with positive, brat-affirming issues like race, global relations, and the importance of service and sacrifice. But we also deal with issues that are difficult to discuss, much less solve, like mental health, trauma, and grief and loss. BWB believes that true resilience comes from honestly facing these challenges head on, together, and finding unique ways to balance the needs of the country, the military, the parents, and the children, so Military Brats & TCKs know that they’re not alone, they do belong, and their service and sacrifice is appreciated. Thank you for helping support BWB’s efforts!