30 Ways of Thanks

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30 Ways of Thanks

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30Still.jpgNovember is Military Families Appreciation Month, and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Branch Spouses of the Year (Branch SOYs) want to help everyone, everywhere participate in thanking and honoring military families.

Americans love our military, but many people don't quite know how best to express their gratitude. As National Guard Spouse of the Year Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee notes, “saying "thanks" to our military families is something that many want to do, but are at a loss as to how to do it –or in the case of Guard and Reserve, how to find us!”

So the Branch SOYs created #30Ways of Thanks to help. Each day in November, the Branch SOYs will release a video with an action item that people around the country can participate in virtually or locally, individually or in groups. Participants can hash tag #30Ways so that their messages, photos, or videos are spread far and wide. Hash tags #GratefulNation and #MilFamsRock can also be added as a short-hand way to say “You are amazing, military families!” Best of all, the entire #30Ways video collection will be stored on the Branch SOYs' YouTube channel so that it can be repeated in Novembers to come, or whenever someone is looking for a way to say “thank you” to military families.


Why is November so important? It's the month specifically designated to honor those who support our service members the most. As Military Spouse of the Year Lakesha Cole (Marine Corps) explained, “while it's important to recognize those who serve, we must not forget the families that serve and sacrifice with them. The #30Ways Project is America's opportunity to extend our support, gratitude, and a helping hand.”

The #30Ways project is one near and dear to the Branch SOYs, because they know all too well the challenges of military life. "I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the friendship and support that I personally experience from my fellow military friends and neighbors,” said Tammy Meyer, 2014 Navy Spouse of the Year. “Working on this project was just a small way for me to express my gratitude, in hopes that it would be contagious and give others the opportunity to join in this month long celebration of military families.” Chris Pape, 2014 Air Force Spouse adds “humor is a powerful tool in tackling the challenges of military life because it can make things feel less daunting. And with #30Ways, it's the same idea; it gives everyone the chance to say 'thank you' in a very light-hearted and approachable way.”

For Reda Hicks, 2014 Army Spouse of the Year, who is a remote spouse, the project is about engaging across the divide. “Living in a city hours from any major military outpost, my experience is that people really want to support our military and their families, they just don't know how; they don't know what we need. #30Ways is about empowering the community to embrace military families, while honoring those families for their sacrifices.” Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee echoed those sentiments: “Being a Guard family, we are more likely to be found in YOUR communities rather than on any military base or installation. #30Ways is a simple but powerful project that will help you reach out and say thanks to military families in your community.”

#30Ways also gave the Branch SOYs the opportunity to work with some amazing partners in developing the video series, like National Military Families Association, Blue Star Families, In Gear Career, NextGen Milspouse, Military Officers Association of America,and Military Spouses of Strength.

Watch for #30Ways on social media and in your communities all month long, and be sure to let us know how YOU plan to say thanks this November!

See also...

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Nurturing the Money Tree: Creating Income - Part 1

DirectionDivaLogo.jpgTo work or not to work that is the question on all of our minds at one time or another in our military careers.

It seems that the subject of employment comes up whenever money is tight, when the kids are all finally in school, or you PCS to a new duty station. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about getting a job outside of our home just so we could have a little wiggle room in the budget.

I even tried it one year to get some extra holiday cash, and frankly it was a disaster. Nothing got done, the kids were disappointed because I wasn't home when they came back from college, and my husband hated the fact that his life had to change, not to mention my home business began to struggle as well. (Yes, he is spoiled but the fact that he is a genius on the grill makes up for it)
For some military spouses working outside the home works for them, but for many of us the constant changes, multiple moves and unpredictability of our lives make employment very difficult unless you are fortunate to have a career that can move with you.

image for Sesame Street and USO Tour - Japan and Korea

Sesame Street and USO Tour - Japan and Korea

SesameUSO.jpgYEAH SESAME STREET!  This tour is still going on for those in Japan and Korea.  Could be a great way to spend an afternoon with your family!

 

The tour which begins at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska on May 29 and will visit 42 bases in 8 European and Pacific countries over the next six months.  The organizations hope others will be inspired to learn more and suggest these five simple actions everyone can do to support military families:
 
1.        Volunteer at one of the more than 160 USO locations around the world and discover ways you can take action locally.
2.        Offer to help a military family on the home front who live on or off base.  Whether you see that their lawn needs to be mowed or garbage cans taken in, helping with simple household chores and errands can really relieve some of the stress a family may be feeling.
3.        Teach your child how they can help support military kids in their school by visiting uso.org/get-involved.aspx and or Facebook.com/SesameStreetforMilitaryFamilies.
4.        Lend an ear to listen to a military spouse as sometimes just having someone there to vent to or talk to when you may feel all alone can be the greatest support of all.
5.        Say thank you to a military member and their family for their service, sacrifice and strength.  Our troops and their families make sacrifices so we don't have to and those two simple words say so much.
 
“There is nothing that comes close to the feeling you get when you see the smile on a child's face at our Sesame Street shows.  I knew we had something very special the first time I saw the smiles of our military families, and here we are five years later, celebrating a tour that that has traveled the globe three times over and is about to do it again,” said Sloan Gibson, USO President and CEO.  “The USO is proud to be on Capitol Hill celebrating the tour's fifth birthday and assembling care packages for troops overseas.  There is no better way to commemorate such a momentous occasion than IN our nation's capital and WITH our friends at Sesame Street.” 
 
The longest running tour in USO history, the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families has taken its message to more than 368,000 troops and military families, and performed 631 shows on 145 military installations in 33 states and 11 countries.  In 2011,Sesame Street and the USO introduced a brand new character named Katie – a military child experiencing the stresses of moving as her parents are transferred to a new duty station.  Last year, Katie and her Sesame Street pals visited 67 military bases and performed 204 shows stateside.
 
 “Sesame Street has so much admiration and respect for our military families, we feel privileged to partner with our friends at the USO and be a part of this special USO Care Package event,” said H. Mel Ming, Sesame Workshop President and CEO.  “This is a great way to show our continued support to our service men and women and to celebrate five years of bringing our resources and the Sesame Street/USO Experience to Military Families to installations around the world.”

Operation USO Care Packages contain vital items troops use every day, from prepaid international phone cards and snacks to travel-size toiletries and comfort items.  Designed as a way for America to say 'thank you' to our troops and their families overseas as well as to unite communities, today's Care Packages included a special gratitude card from Cookie Monster as well as a personal note to troops signed by USO Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., Tim Walz, DFL-Minn., Howard (Buck) McKeon, R-Cali., and Adam Smith, D-Wash.
 
Since 2003, the USO has delivered 2.3 million care packages to bring a touch of home and necessities to active duty military serving all over the world.  USO Care Packages are distributed to troops traveling through the USO's more than 160 locations worldwide as well as to troops serving overseas. 
 
Whether on the frontlines, with their loved ones, in recovery or in remembrance, the USO and Sesame Street are adapting to meet the needs of those who need us most.  Operation USO Care Package and The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families are just two of the ways we can help them navigate life's challenges. To learn more Operation USO Care Package visitwww.uso.org/operation-uso-care-package.aspx.  To learn more about the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families or check for the latest tour info visit www.USO.org/Sesame


 

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