For Immediate Release

Contact: Bailey Bernius
PR@MilitaryFamily.org
www.MilitaryFamily.org
703.931.6632

Association's Work Provides Road Map to "Joining Forces"

April 12, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, VA April 12, 2011— First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden delivered today on a promise made months ago — to engage all Americans in supporting military families. At a White House event they revealed their Joining Forces initiative to reconnect Americans with the military families in their communities.

The National Military Family Association is honored to be part of the occasion. Association Executive Director, Joyce Raezer, attended the ceremony. “To have the White House highlight the service and sacrifices of military families in this manner is unprecedented.  It reinforces what we’ve been saying for a long time: military families depend on their communities of neighbors, friends, and employers for strength and support.”

This announcement comes shortly after the Association released Finding Common Ground: A Toolkit for Communities Supporting Military Families. This toolkit includes easily-achievable action items and useful resources to guide anyone who wants to support military families, but doesn’t know where to start. The toolkit can be downloaded for free at www.militaryfamily.org/community

The Association is often asked for advice from the White House on issues important to military families, especially those in the Joining Forces initiative; education, employment, and wellness. For more than 40 years, the National Military Family Association has worked to advance these issues in its mission to improve the lives of military families. 

Education

Each year the Association awards hundreds of scholarships to military spouses working to achieve their education goals, while at the same time, highlighting the need to make education more affordable.  Additionally, the Association played a critical role in securing in-state tuition for military spouses. Sign up to receive notices on our education programs.

Military kids face different challenges as they grow up, often attending more than six schools before graduating. The National Military Family Association is an ex-officio member of the Interstate Compact Commission that directs schools in ways to ease the challenges military children and their families face when moving and changing schools. To date, 37 states have joined the compact.

Employment

A large number of spouses choose careers in fields like healthcare and education because they are occupations that are needed where ever they live. However, spouses’ careers are often stalled because many states do not accept their professional licenses from other states, making it difficult for military spouses to continue their employment. The National Military Family Association is working with state governments, professional associations, and national leadership to remove this burden. 

The National Military Family Association was also instrumental in the implementation of recent changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act to include relief for families absent from work due to the deployment of a family member.

Wellness

This summer more than 3,500 military kids will attend a free Operation Purple® summer camp. In the last seven years more than 40,000 military kids have had the chance to participate in the program to help them deal with the stress of having their mom or dad deployed. Applications are being accepted for this summer’s program until April 29, 2011.

Concerned about the impact of repeat and lengthy deployments on the stability of the family, the National Military Family Association commissioned the RAND Corporation to examine effects of deployments on children. Research results point to increased anxiety and rising challenges as the months of deployment accumulate. The findings are being used to guide the Association to make sure programs are addressing the needs of military families and the information is being shared with others in the community. Read or download the report.

The Association also led the charge in the passage of caregiver legislation that will give family members who take care of their wounded loved ones, access to healthcare coverage, a living stipend, and respite benefits.   

Together we're stronger

These victories for military families and sustaining programs are true demonstrations of communities coming together and joining forces. Because the National Military Family Association is a nonprofit organization that does not accept government funding, these achievements are made possible by corporations, foundations, and individuals that believe in its work.

About the National Military Family Association

Military families serve our country with pride, honor, and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. We provide families of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve, and offer programs that improve their lives. Our 44 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. To learn more, visit www.MilitaryFamily.org.

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