Making sure those that are remotely stationed, and those that aren’t close to a larger base, has been something I’ve been passionate about for many years. When I first started getting out there to advocate for this group of people I was a young MilSpouse with a one year old. It was 2007 and I jumped feet first into the EANGUS community with the goal of spreading the word about young military families. I am pleased to bring you more information about the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is available to National Guard and Reserve families (of any branch). As an Air Guard family, we frequently were able to participate in programs originally designed or created for Army Guard families. The same thing goes for the Strong Bonds program, so make sure to look for those as well.
The Yellow Ribbon Program offers several tips to make sure you have the support and help you need to get through the toughest things the military has to offer.
1. Find a military family readiness/support group in your area.
This can come in many different forms – through church, through the National Guard base or Armory’s family programs office, or just something you create on your own. Contact larger organizations like National Military Family Association or Blue Star Families and let them know you are there. Sometimes its a matter of knowing a group of people are there. With so many military families spread out over this country, and many not near larger installations, there is a whole group of people not being reached.
If you haven’t already registered with JSS (Joint Support Services), do it! You can search for all types of benefits and assistance that is in your area, including the Yellow Ribbon Program. They have contact information and ways for you to connect with people if you can’t find help in your area. National Military Family Association Support Group Link
2. Participate in activities and groups in your unit or community.
Once you find that support you have to get out there!! Attending the activities that are often planned for military families—including scrapbooking nights, ice cream socials, military kids nights and holiday dinners—can help you feel more like a part of the local community, especially when you’re missing your Service member. Playgroups and military spouse groups provide additional opportunities to meet people in a similar situation and exchange advice and information.
Every parent knows that deployment can be stressful for children. OMK aims to help military kids cope with deployment by bringing them together for fun activities with other kids who understand. Sign your kids up for a variety of social, educational and recreational programs. Also, Our Military Kids offers scholarships for military children, whose parent is deployed, to help pay for those special activities. You can find out more information about Our Military Kids here.
4. Stay in touch through military publications and websites.
Your loved one’s unit, post or base newspaper is a vital source of information about workshops and programs offered to spouses and families. Some units will share news and announcements through Facebook and Twitter so you can stay up-to-date on upcoming events or opportunities to meet with other families.
5. Keep connected after deployment through a Virtual Family Readiness Group (VFRG).
Once your loved one is deployed, you can maintain these new connections through a Virtual Family Readiness Group, a controlled-access web system that links Service members to their families and units. The VFRG provides a secure means for your Service member to communicate with family members far from home, and the unit commander posts updates so that you have access to the latest information. Each Service has different types of VFRGs, so be sure to contact your unit or command Family Programs staff for details.
For more info please visit their website and register for events on their event’s page
You can find more resources specifically for National Guard and Reserve on my General Military tab. Make sure to check out the other resources listed under MilSpouse and Family Support. Many of the programs listed there offer specific help to those that are in the National Guard and Reserves.
If you feel like you are missing a program in your area, or are having trouble locating one please leave me a comment or email me cammostylelove (at) yahoo (dot) com. I’ll be happy to help, or point you in the right direction.