Tagged: military families
- service member’s full name, rank, Service branch, Social Security number, and military address
- information about the deployed unit and the location of the rear detachment unit (for deployed service members only)
- name, phone number, and relationship of person in the city or town where the emergency occurred (to provide more information if required)
- name and contact number for hospital or funeral home to verify the emergency
- positions as greeters, hospital guides, wheelchair escorts, patient chaperones, and pharmacy aids working at medical facilities in areas such as physical therapy, the emergency room, pediatrics, dermatology, and radiology
- volunteer caseworker positions at Red Cross locations
- a Dental Assistant Program (DENTAC) for training as a dental technician
- pet-therapy volunteer positions to cheer up patients in military hospitals
- blood donation center positions to assist with blood drives
- disaster-response positions to provide relief support
- Active-duty service members stationed in the US and their immediate family members may call the Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Service (AFES) Centers for help at any time 877-272-7337.
- Members of the Guard and Reserve, retirees, and extended family members can access services through their local Red Cross Chapter, listed in local telephone directories and in the chapter directory.
- Overseas personnel stationed on military installations may call installation operators or the on-installation Red Cross office.
- Search the Internet. Search for organizations near your base, community, or area of interest.
- Visit your installation’s military support service center; the Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Marine Corps all have support centers for military spouses and families.
- Talk to people. You are not alone in this. Whatever you’re going through, there are others out there who can help – or at least just listen. Ask your neighbour, the checkout person at the commissary, anybody you might come across where to find like-minded groups to join.
The home model “holds promise as a way to improve health care in America by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered,” MHS said.
This poem comes via the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association. The credit reads: “A Military Christmas Poem as shared by Doug Davis“ and was posted by “LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN.”
Jeff concluded the poem with these words: “Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.”
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
”What are you doing?” I asked without fear, “Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!” For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light. Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right, I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.” It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,” Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.” My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’, And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.” Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue… an American flag. “I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother. Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
”So go back inside” he said, “harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.” “But isn’t there something I can do, at the least, “Give you money?” I asked, “or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you’ve done, For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, “Just tell us you love us, and never forget. To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
#militarychristmas #usmilitary #militarythanks
President Obama has signed a law authorizing the payment of death benefits and gratuities. The bill reached his desk after receiving overwhelming votes in both houses of Congress.
The President’s spokesperson, Jay Carney, had earlier stated that the law was “gimmicky” and “unnecessary,” because the Fisher House had already agreed to front the necessary cash to military families who have lost a servicemember.
President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate have been resistant to partial funding measures passed by the House to fund other areas of government, and event to bills that would fund everything but delay the individual mandate to buy health insurance in the Affordable Care Act for one year.
Thus far, the House has been loathe to pass anything with funding for Obamacare as is in it, while the Senate and the President have opposed passing or signing anything without it. The three exceptions so far have been the Pay Our Military Act, a law authorizing retroactive payment to furloughed federal workers once the government revs up again, and this one.
Military schoolchildren have a lot of challenges. They are frequently forced to relocate every three years or so, thanks to PCS moves. They also, however, have access to the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) the federally-run school system that provides K-12 education for military families both in the U.S. and OCONUS. These can be terrific alternatives, but they aren’t for everyone. Some military parents choose to homeschool their children.
Is it legal?
Yes, homeschooling is generally legal, though some states impose more regulation and oversight on homeschooling parents than others. Some host nations may have laws concerning homeschooling that you should be aware of, as well.
Are their subsidies available?
While the vast majority of active-duty military family’s children live on or near a military installation served by a DoDEA school, there are occasionally situations where this isn’t the case. If that describes your family, you may be eligible for a subsidy to help support your homeschooling efforts, via the NDSP, or Non-Defense Schools Program. This program provides financial assistance to military families outside Canada and the United Kingdom whose children don’t live within a reasonable commuting distance from a DoD school. You can use the money to enroll your children into a local private school, an approved virtual school, or you can use it to finance a home-based education program for your children. The subsidy can be as much as $5,700 for grades K through 8 and $7,700 for grades 9-12.
Homeschoolers are not eligible, however, in the following cases:
- K-5 in the United Kingdom
- K-12 in Canada and Australia
- Areas served by a DoDEA school
Basic eligibility criteria are as follows:
- Sponsor must be a military service member serving on active duty and stationed overseas on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, or?A civilian employee of the Department of Defense who is employed on a permanent full time basis, assigned overseas, and is either a citizen or a national of the United States;
- Sponsors must be authorized to transport dependents* to or from an overseas area at government expense, and
- Sponsors must be provided an allowance for living quarters in that area.
- Sponsors must be assigned to a location outside the commuting area of a DoD school.
*School-aged dependents are defined as an individual:
- Who is the child, stepchild, adopted child, or ward of a DoD sponsor, residing with the sponsor, and is eligible for other command sponsorship services, postal services privileges, and?Who meets the host nation age requirement for kindergarten, and
- Has not completed secondary school and will not reach his or her 21st birthday by September 1 of the current school year (or February 1 in the southern hemisphere); or
Between 3 and 5 years of age with developmental delays and disabilities may be eligible for services if they meet the DoDEA special education criteria.
What expenses are reimbursable?
The DoD allows you to use NDSP money towards the following expenses:
- Traditional curriculum textbooks and other supplemental materials as may be appropriate for math, science, language arts, social studies, and other subjects on a grade/age appropriate basis.
- Instructional CDs/software, curriculum guides, and manipulative materials for math, etc.
- Fees charged for access to libraries and group participation in athletic, extracurricular, or music activities that are normally free of charge in U.S. public schools. Group participation is defined as a lesson or activity with enrollment open to the public, not a lesson provided exclusively for a family group (see Non-Allowable item h).
- Travel and transportation costs at post or away from post associated with these activities are not allowable.
- Fees for curriculum-related on-line Internet services such as study programs, library services, and distance.
- Required testing materials by either the formal home-study course or other authorized program.
- Advisory teaching service affiliated with the selected formally recognized home-study course.
- Tuition charges, shipping costs, lesson postage, on-line Internet and facsimile charges associated with formal recognized home-study course or other authorized program.
What Expenses Are Not Reimbursable?
The general rule is that if an educational expense is ordinarily and customarily borne by parents outside of the Department of Defense in America, then these expenses are not reimbursable under NDSP auspices. Here is a list of expenses that are not authorized for reimbursement, and parents must pay them out-of-pocket:
- Equipment such as: computers, keyboards, printers, televisions, facsimile and scanning machines, and furniture.
- Non-course specific CDs, videos, DVDs;
- General reading materials, reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, globes), etc.
- Purchase or rental of items that have broader use than the course being studied (i.e. computers/laptops, computer hardware, calculators, band instruments except noted above).
- Expendable supplies (paper, pencils, markers) that are normally purchased by parents in the U.S.
- Parental training in home-study private instruction.
- Any form of compensation to the parent such as childcare or supervisory costs.
- Travel and transportation costs at post or away from post.
- Personal telephone, Internet, satellite, cable or other available communication subscription fees.
- Fees for museums, cultural events, or performances that would normally be paid by parents in the U.S.
- Private lessons.
- Membership in gymnasiums, cultural clubs, spas, and other private clubs.
- Textbooks, Bibles, workbooks, daily devotionals, or any material primarily for religious instruction.
- Insurance associated with shipping charges. (Do not elect the optional insurance.)
- Fees to an independent agency for posting credits and issuing transcripts.
To apply for the subsidy, fill out this brief spreadsheet, describing what materials you plan to be using for each child.
Next, register with the NDSP program here.
State-By-State Homeschooling Laws
Home Education Magazine maintains a state-by-state breakdown of laws as they apply to home education. Note that it is not your home of record that governs your requirements for homeschooling documentation and other regulations. It is your current location or duty station.
Stay tuned to MilitaryAuthority.com, as we’ll be posting updates and additional information on homeschooling specific to the military community here!
If you’ve been in the military for any length of time, you know first-hand the reaction that comes when you hear these three little initials: P.C.S. Permanent Change of Station. When you consider that many military families relocate every two years, the “P” seems more like “Potential” than “Permanent.”
The stress that can come with relocating a family can be a major headache, or it can be fuel for excitement. The way you handle moves with your children can make all the difference. Here are a few tips:
Before the move:
- Talk it up. If you know the orders are coming, start laying the groundwork for a stress-free move by making relocation just another part of the routine. You can discuss how exciting it is to explore new parts of the amazing country we live in. Learn fun facts about different places and start a collection (my child keeps rocks from every place we’ve ever lived). You can even tack a map on the wall and wonder out loud where you’ll be stationed next time. (Important note – For this to fly, you have to genuinely be excited and full of wonder – kids can sense a phony a mile away. So if you’re not excited and looking forward to it, they won’t either. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it, and find another way to cope.)
- Plan together. Pull up a couple of chairs and go online together to map out the trip to your new home. Let the kiddos locate fun places to stop along the way – and actually stop there to have fun.
- Let them pack their own stuff. If they’re old enough to read, they’re old enough to pack their own boxes. This is a win in two ways: first, there’s one item crossed off your to-do list. Plus, little Suzy doesn’t have to worry that you’re going to throw out her collection of Monster High dolls “by accident” during the move. Giving kids control over their belongings also lets them feel a little more secure in an otherwise insecure situation, which can go a long way in helping them adjust.
On the road:
- Bring a “go” bag. Pack a suitcase of overnight clothes, toiletries and important stuff for the car – but also pack a “go” bag loaded with games, snacks, drinks, music or other special items just for them to make the drive more fun.
- Brake for fun. A lot of families build in time for a family vacation along the way. Whether that’s a trip to an amusement park, a state park, or just a stop to see the world’s largest thimble, make your time together memorable in a good way.
- Let them nest. Kids can choose where they want their belongings, and if they’re old enough, let them help direct the movers where to place the furniture.
- Get familiar with new surroundings. Explore the new post together. Find important places like school, church, shopping or favorite restaurants together.
Remember that younger kids might get confused about the difference between PCS and deployment. Reassure your youngsters that mommy and daddy aren’t going away without them and keep the lines of communication open.
Moving doesn’t have to mean stressing. You can contact your Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) representative or your unit chaplain to talk about any concerns, or find out how to talk with kids about moving. There are usually family counseling and parenting classes offered at installation family centers if you’d like to get additional help.
And remember to help your kids keep in touch with old friends even while they are developing bff’s at their new home. Before too long, you’ll have another new adventure to start, and you can trust that your children will be ready and resilient – just like their parents.
When the Association of Bragg Officers Spouses at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, turned down Ashley Broadway for membership because her wife, LTC Heather Mack of the 1st Theatre Sustainment Command, was also a woman, they probably didn’t expect this: Readers of Military Spouse magazine chose Broadway for the Fort Bragg Military Spouse of the Year.
She will now go on to compete for the Army-wide spouse of the year title.
Broadway has been with her wife for over 15 years. They are raising a son together and have another child on the way. Broadway now serves as a board member and the Director of Family Affairs for the American Military Partner Association, an organization that works to support and connect spouses and partners of gay and lesbian service members.
First Lady Michelle Obama gave the organization a boost last year by receiving them at a Mothers’ Day Tea.
Broadway received a number of nominations from readers of Military Spouse, who cited a number of contributions she made to the community even prior to the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which forced same-sex partners and spouses of military members into the shadows, since getting outed usually meant the end of the servicemembers’ career.
Some highlights from her nominations:
Ashley has worked with many of these gay and lesbian military families to show them how they can utilize the Army’s Family Care Plan to list the same-sex spouse as a care giver, thereby giving them access to the base and enabling them to give better care to their family. She has a heart for all military families, especially those with children, and is constantly working to help them. Not only does she personally give up her time and energy to help them, she is always working to help their stories and the unique struggles they face be told in the media.
She has given money out of her own pocket to help lower ranking families with moving costs. (Not covered by the military for same sex families.)
Ms. Broadway is a veteran of over 15 years as a military spouse, including two deployments for her spouse, and seven PCS moves.
Broadway perhaps got a boost at a critical juncture – when she was rejected for membership by the Fort Bragg Spouse’s Association, her story circulated widely in social media circles in the military spouse community. She was also profiled on Time magazine’s prominent Battleland blog. And finally, the AMPA mobilized its members to vote for her via their Facebook page, which had 7,853 followers.
In December, Broadway applied to join the Association of Bragg Officers Spouses. They turned her down, however, simply stating that she “did not qualify.” Broadway responded by going public – and asking the Association’s board of directors to reconsider, via an open letter on the Association of Military Partners of America’s website.
The Bragg Officers Spouses Association took down their Facebook page as the story began to gain traction in social media. They also took down their bylaws from the website, pending review. The Association of Military Partners, on the other hand, ramped up their social media and traditional media outreach.
In the mounting public relations battle, the battlefield calculus was rapidly moving in Broadway’s favor.
“Ashley is not a ‘guest’ military spouse. She is a military spouse, plain and simple,” Stephen Peters, of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement to Military Times. “So the idea that the organization, in order to end the negative attention they are getting because of their outright discrimination, wants to give her a ‘guest membership’ is not only offensive, but ridiculous.”
On January 25th, the Association caved, announcing publicly that they were changing the criteria for membership to include any person with a valid marriage certificate to a Fort Bragg officer from any state. They publicly invited Broadway to apply for membership.
My family and I are from the south, so suffice it to say that when a job led us to the cooler climates of Nebraska it wasn’t without a little bit of trepidation. Mostly on my part. I prefer heat to cold unless I’m sleeping. I’d rather sweat through a t-shirt or sundress than through layer upon layer of fleece and down.
I realize it’s not like we moved to the tundra or anything – we don’t need a sled dog or snowshoes in order to function on a daily basis. It’s just different. I love the fluffy freshness of new snow for, oh, about a half day, then all that cold and wet just becomes kind of annoying. We persevere through the gray skies by building snowmen and drinking lots of cocoa (with extra marshmallows) and making the best of it.
This week, though, it’s been beautifully sunny and *gasp* almost sort of warm-ish. I’d never thought of 40 degrees as warm before. But there it was. We’ve had gorgeous blue skies, sunshine, and I could almost feel the neighborhood sigh and stretch with relief.
Then, overnight, Mother Nature dumped a big white powdery pile on us again, and the city’s plows were caught unaware. So that’s how we ended up with today’s surprise snow day. I figure I’ve got another hour or so of time to crank out some work before the choruses of “I’m bored” begin again. That’s about how long it will take him to attempt to clean his room and get distracted by toys before searching out another activity. I’ve always admired home schooling parents, but after today, I have even more admiration and respect. And, I had an ingenious idea (self-described), prompted by this Verizon ad:
So, fortunately, my kiddo is healthy and I don’t take that for granted. I don’t have time to take that for granted because he is so wired up from alternately being cooped up inside and playing outside in the snow that he is now perched on the chair chirping suggestions for this article in my ear.
What if these kinds of telepresence robots could be used for both teachers and students on snow days like the one we’re suffering through enjoying so very thoroughly today? Not only would I be able to carry on my work undisturbed, my child would be able to keep up his academic momentum, so to speak. He and the rest of his class and teachers wouldn’t have to spend the better part of tomorrow trying to remember what they did the day before. They would simply carry on, from the warmth of their own home, reading their social studies or working on their math as usual, using their robot.
Another scenario: contagious disease. If he catches a cold or the flu (which is spreading faster than a rumor in high school), he doesn’t risk sharing it with everyone, he can participate in class from the sterility of his own home. Thanks to his robot.
Or what about robots for kids who live in remote, rural areas? Say there’s no bus service, so mom/dad /sibling have to drive the student into town each day – what happens if there’s horrible weather, or illness, or something else that prohibits them from getting to class? No worries – the student robot can hook him or her up (so to speak) and no school days are missed.
What about the possibilities to use this kind of technology to help underserved populations have access to things many of us take for granted, like a good education? Or to connect military families who are separated during deployment? If the sky were the limit, how would you use this kind of technology? Who’s in charge of this and how can I speak with him?
We already have online degree programs, and military education benefits to apply toward them, which have changed the way people think about college and have made it possible for so many working adults to achieve their goals. What else can we achieve when we explore the boundaries of our imagination and capabilities?
So, this post might not have totally been “Fun” Friday so much as it’s been “Kelli-Gets-Distracted-And-Waxes-Philosophical-About-Robots-And-School” Friday. And with that, I’m going to pull on my boots and shovel the driveway. I wish you a happy, healthy, relaxing weekend full of sunshine, robotics and big dreams.
In an address last week, President Obama declared the month of November “Military Family Month,” a month in which every American should pay tribute to military families for their sacrifices and contributions they make to support our soldiers and our nation.
An excerpt from the President’s statement reads:
“In our military families, we see the best our country has to offer. They demonstrate the virtues that have made America great for more than two centuries and the values that will preserve our greatness for centuries to come.
With loved ones serving far from home, military spouses take on the work of two. Their children show courage and resilience as they move from base to base, school to school, home to home. And even through the strain of deployment, military families strengthen the fabric of each community they touch and enrich our national life as shining examples of patriotism.”
The President’s proclamation kicks off the Department of Defense and our country’s month-long celebration of the military family. Throughout this month, military families are honored in a number of ways in ceremonies across the country. Recognition and respects are being paid by community leaders, businesses, military installations and posts at family fun nights, special dinners, local sporting events and other community activities this month.
Contact your base family activities unit or chamber of commerce to find out if there are any special activities near you, and be sure to show your support for military families this month.