10 Resources Every National Guard Family Should Know

As a National Guard family member, it has taken me years to feel confident within this community. It can be extremely difficult to find support within the community. Most of the time it is simply an issue of education; and many do not realize there is even a problem. We are often spread out, with our service member spouses traveling hours or even in an airplane, to their units. Many spouses, like myself, spend countless hours searching for support, assistance and reaching out to anyone that they can. Still, many others simply don’t try. The misnomer that this is a one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer job is simply incorrect. The idea that National Guard families don’t need as much support because we all live in our hometowns, with our families, is also not true in many cases. And what I want to make especially clear – most of these resources I mention here are accessible to National Guard families REGARDLESS of status. This is an important distinction to make because so very many of the non-profits in the military world DO NOT include National Guard families in their events and programs unless we are in a specific type of orders and for a specific amount of days, or deployed. Making sure NG families know these specific resources is very important to me.

I hope that this list provides information to families out there that are like me, seeking support and assistance. Maybe this post might even provide insight to those providing the support and other military branches that we view as part of our larger military family.

1. Military One Source – Even if you have never used Military One Source you probably have heard about it if you’ve been to any military event. I’m hoping you’ve at least heard of it. If you haven’t it is a large resource of information for military families in general. However I want to point out two specific aspects of the program that I have used. One is the counseling program. It appears overwhelming when you go to the website but it is so very easy. You simply call, verify your information and move on from there. If you are worried about privacy and information getting back to your spouse’s unit, please do not worry. The information is given simply to verify that you are military and qualify to have access for it. In all the cases that I have used it I have never once found that the information went anywhere else. Use it! The second is their products for purchase. They have books, the Sesame Street programs and many others are available to order for FREE! We have ordered several for our families and to give out to others.

2. EANGUS – This is the Enlisted Association of the National Guard. Mr. Air Force and I have been involved with EANGUS for years, only recently having stepped back a little bit with our schedules. You typically see more activity from retire service members and their spouses, however I really believe in this organization and wish more young people, especially spouses, would get involved. EANGUS does amazing work to improve the Guard, especially in regards to legislative issues. I would encourage you all to check it out and consider getting involved.

3. The Wingman Project {Ready Airmen} – this resource applies specifically to the Air National Guard. Here you can find resiliency resources, suicide prevention, and PTS support. There is also an App. What is really great about the Ready Airmen app is that you can access the information to whatever unit is close to you. If I needed assistance or information I could easily access the information of whatever unit is closest me, rather than contacting my unit across the country which may be unable to assist me easily.

4. Strong Bonds – Strong Bonds is a program in connection with the Army National Guard, however Reservists, and Guardsman from the Air Force side of things can access and attend these programs. Find a Chaplain at your unit to assist you in getting access to the events, or simply go on the website and do it yourself. We have done both. In connection with deployments sometimes you can get orders to attend. Usually it is a short weekend event as a couple or as a family, usually staying at a hotel in the area. I would encourage you to check out the information on the website. Also please share with any single Airmen or Soldiers as there are programs for them as well.

5. The JSS, National Guard Family Programs website – This website can be difficult to navigate but once you get to where you are going you can usually find some great information about events in your area or people to contact. On the map page you can find a list of contact information.

6. PillowProject USA – Similiar concept to a daddy pillow, except its a small pillow-shaped size. We have them, and after several years they are in great shape and our children love them. They ask for a donation to help cover shipping costs because they don’t charge for them. I try to donate to them occasionally simply because they really met a need for me when I was absolutely desperate. My sweet children were in desperate need of something that as a National Guard family we were having a difficult time qualifying for in the traditional sense of the word. Spread the word about them, and even if you don’t need them consider giving.

7. Blue Star Families – BSF is one of the first military focused non-profits that I discovered when I moved to the DC area, that also offers event invitations and programs to every branch of the Military – including Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserve…..regardless of status. Their Blue Star Museums program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, partners with museums across the country to provide free entry during the summer months. National Guard and Reserve families can access this program. This is such a huge deal to National Guard families.

8. Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program – What is great about this program is that it is a ‘Purple’ program, meaning all branches. You can find all sorts of events and support for you no matter where you are living. These can be really great opportunities to meet other Guard families in the area and get some valuable information for the locations in which live. Even if you think you’ve got it together, and you’ve got what you need, take the opportunity to go. Don’t make it a missed opportunity for something great!

9. Operation Purple Camps {National Military Family Association} – Operation Purple provides a free week of camp to military children of all branches and service status {National Guard and Reserve}. While priority is given children of wounded or deployed, or children who have been to the camps the previous years, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get in! Apply!

10. Military Spouse Advocacy Network {MSAN} – MSAN is a more recent non-profit that has recently launched a mentorship program. They have advocates all over, and are really trying to grow their National Guard reach. Since they were founded by an Air Force Spouse, that is their most dense area of reach, but they are growing so quickly I know they can barely keep up. If you are an experienced Spouse in the NG or Reserve I would definitely encourage you to get involved! And that doesn’t mean you have to have been in for a really long time either! It’s a great opportunity to give back to our community.

Bonus Resource – I’m also including one of my most popular posts here on the blog in this list. It is all about how to make a readiness folder. A readiness folder is usually something that an FRG or Key Spouse might assist you with. But as we have already discussed sometime that person just isn’t around, you are too far away or you just don’t know how to even find that person. I encourage every military family to make a readiness folder, even if you think you aren’t going to go through a deployment. Having all that stuff together in one place is great. Making it on your own, while a little tedious, will be such a benefit to you and will also empower you because you are now armed with all the information you need.

Check out the Resource Tabs up top for my National Guard/Reserve resources!

stop by my National Guard Families Facebook page. On this page I try to provide as many resources and connections to Guard/Reserve and Remotely located families as I can! Contribute information, ask questions or just see what we have going on!

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  1. I LOVE Military OneSource. It is such an amazing program. They even have financial services and offer grants to military families in need. This list is really detailed and informative!

  2. I LOVE Military OneSource. It is such an amazing program. They even have financial services and offer grants to military families in need. This list is really detailed and informative!

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