With the wars overseas winding down, the need to help vets and military families is increasing, as attention to their needs shrinks.
Vets need jobs, and that’s high priority. So do their spouses, and they all need a hand dealing with everyday challenges that are magnified when troops are deployed or relocated.
A guy like me, I don’t know what kind of real-life help they need, but here’s what I read. They might need a little help in areas I wouldn’t have figured:
- getting school credits transferred
- dealing with family stress resulting from deployment or relocation
- understanding military culture, like commonly used acronyms
- meeting people in new bases
- using social media, including issues like operational security
- good jobs that can move with a relocation
Really good help is provided by Blue Star Families and also the National Military Families Association, which focus on military families connecting and helping each other other out.
The National Resource Directory has a really good database of nonprofits and government agencies who can provide specialized help in specific geographies.
Sesame Workshop also provides help with difficult transitions. (That’s me at a Sesame event, with Cookie Monster; he’s the one in blue.)
The Department of Veterans Affairs now has Facebook pages for each medical center.
DonorsChoose.org has programs to help the schools that serve military families.
Finally, don’t forget national groups which provide broad assistance, like the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
I figure that we should support Americans who risk taking a bullet to protect us, and that means also looking after their families. Just seems right…
There is also Operation Homefront, they have 32 chapters across the US and they give emergency financial assistance to military members and their FAMILIES, while they are deployed or have come home wounded. They also have morale boosting events and give food assistance.
Craig, Thank you for bringing this issue to light. We completely agree with your comments. I would also like to add USA Cares to that list of organizations committed to assisting Military Families.
USA Cares is non profit organization that provides financial GRANT assistance to Post 9-11 Veterans and their families for basic needs caused by military service and extreme circumstances. We have several programs that line up well with our current economic landscape, including Housing Assistance, Jobs for Vets (and spouses)and a program that provides access to inpatient treatment for Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. Total grant dollars issued since 2003 has been over $8 Million.
I wish there was more stuff like this while I was deployed and returned from deployment back in 2003-2004. Maybe then, I might’ve come home to a wife that wasn’t pregnant and carrying someone else’s baby… and not as a surrogate. I think coming home to that screwed me up more than the actual deployment.
Thank you, Craig! My husband and I face challenges each time he returns from a mission. It’s tough to reacquaint ourselves with each other as well as him with the kids. He struggles to find a place in the family, feeling needed. We struggle with someone interrupting our agendas that we worked so hard to strengthen during his deployments. This is addressed by the military, on return of first deployment, but we have to figure this out every other time for the past 10 years. There could be worse things we have to deal with so we are blessed with each day we are reunited. Thanks for your support.
I would also like to add to your list OPERATION PURPLE. My kids enjoyed three years of summer camp through the Boys and Girls Club of SF (each location sponsored by different groups) to spend time in an away camp setting with youth from all over California, specifically kids from military families. An amazing experience for the kids to know they are not alone, especially when we do not live on or near a base.
I actually met you when you spoke in SF at TechSoup Global.
Thanks for all that you do!
There’s also an organization called American Corporate Partners – which is a mentoring program to help Vets prepare to use their military skills in the non-military work arena. [www.acp-usa.org]
Above all, it’s an additional source of networking for the vets.
I have had limited experience with it (the company I work for, Direct Partners, encourages employees to take time to do this) – but the contact I had with a young vet showed me how hungry they are to get on with their lives and how skilled they can really be for all kinds of areas because of their military experience. A lot of drive and discipline untapped. They just need an opening.
Everyone, thanks, it’s appreciated! and I’m already chatting with American Corporate Partners and others.