#militarymonday Bridging the Gap with Community Service

Volunteering and community service is something that I know that is mentioned fairly regularly on my blog.  It’s important to me, and I hope to pass that on to my children.  I feel like the spirit of volunteerism has dwindled among our society, but then I notice that more and more high school’s are requiring it for graduation, and whole school districts and community beautification day.  But what does that actually mean?  Does that mean that giving back to your community is become more important or does that mean to actually get people to volunteer we have to require it and have special days for it.  I’m not sure which.

This last weekend I joined up with one of my Blue Star Families pals and went to DC for DC Public Schools Beautification Day.  Me and some of my pals spent a good chunk of our day at Jefferson Academy School in South West DC.  It is a beautiful old school, brick with wood floors.  Such a cool old building.  The school had some water damage on some of the upper floors and new teachers were moving in.  Organizing books by reading level and hanging out classroom decorations was the order of the day, and it was a blast.  We even had some fellow military families and some service members come out as well.  It was great.  Giving back to the community, showing the local community that we as military members are invested in our communities no matter how long we may be there, is vital to the Civilian/Military relationship.

Me and my BSF peep Michelle, and two service members

Bridging the gap so that we both understand each other.  In Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey, released early this year, this very topic was one of the most important.  Military families didn’t feel understood by their civilian counterparts.  But can we really dump that onto the civilian community?  We are responsible for that relationship just as much as they are, and community service is the way to do it.  In fact, in my opinion, it is the perfect way to do it!  We have all heard and seen stories about military connected individuals walking around with their hands out.  We deserve this, we deserve that.  My husband’s job is so dangerous that I deserve to get my bags on an airplane for free.  I’m not denying that all those things aren’t nice and wonderful, and on some level “deserved” so to speak.  But walking around feeling as if its owed to you and then throwing a tantrum when you don’t get it, doesn’t do much for our reputation.  A perfect example is the Sears Heroes registry for a gift card.  At a prescribed time you can register and try to “make it in.”  For the past three years this has been nothing but a nightmare.  Spouses flooding the Sears Facebook page saying the most horrible things that one could ever see.  I was absolutely ashamed to be called a military spouse at that very moment.  Every year I tell Sears thank you that I am surprised they continue doing it.  I chastise fellow milspouses in a rant on my Facebook status.  I know I’m being just as ridiculous but I seriously can’t help myself.   So can you really blame the civilian population for thinking we are unapproachable and snotty?  I can’t.

We do…what do you do?

In an effort to do my part for my military community, my local community and my children I want to give back.  My children will be raised knowing that everyone should do their part.  Bringing them with me to projects is my way of doing that.  Look for events in your area.  Find an area of interest for you and see how your community gives back in that way.  There are many National events relating to service that are held throughout the year.  Coming up next month is the 9/11 Day of Service.  You can visit the website to pledge your service, find local way to give back and more.  Points of Light is another great organization that provides you with ways you can give back.  Simply search your location and an area of interest.  The time is now.

How do you give back?!  Check out Points of Light or the 9/11 Day of Service website to get involved!!

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