New York Times — Veterans Groups Seek a Crackdown on Deceptive Colleges * May 21, 2016
Some of the nation’s largest veterans and military organizations sent letters last week to the Veterans Affairs Department asking it to crack down on colleges that prey on veterans by charging exorbitant fees for degrees that mostly fail to deliver promised skills and jobs. The letters were signed by top officials at the American Legion, the National Military Family Association, the Military Officers Association of America and nearly 20 other groups. They called on the department to improve its oversight of colleges that have engaged in deceptive recruiting and other illicit practices but that continue to receive millions in funding under the G.I. Bill.
MilitaryTimes — 25 military and veterans groups want customers to advise on commissary reform * May 9, 2016
“We don’t believe customer voices are being heard early enough in the process of determining what changes will be made and how they will be made,” said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, one of the organizations that signed the letter. “DoD has been forthcoming about telling associations what they’re doing and what they’re deciding, but that’s after the fact. “What’s needed now is more transparency on how decisions are made, how metrics are being determined and evaluated, sometimes at a higher level than [the Defense Commissary Agency],” Raezer said.
Medium — Stories of #JoiningForces: Celebrating 5 years of Joining Forces * May 2, 2016
I’m 17, and I went to an Operation Purple Camp when I lived in North Carolina while my dad was stationed overseas. We lived right outside of Pope Air Base at the time. The camp helped me so much to realize I wasn’t the only one going through deployment, and that I wasn’t alone. Operation Purple is an amazing thing and every military child should experience it. I still have my bag from camp that I got. –Military Child
Statesman Journal — Camps Ramp up for Summer Fun * April 28, 2016
Operation Purple Camp: A camp for youth in military families, with morning environmental education field studies on the lake, at the river or in the forest, then afternoon recreation including swimming, field games, hikes, arts and crafts, a snack shack and more, plus Oregon’s National Guard will be involved in a military theme day where campers can learn more about what their parents do when they’re away overseas; each evening there will be a full campfire program and two late night activities: a night hike and an outdoor movie under the stars (youth camp) or an all-camp dance (teen camp), June 20-25 (youth camp) and June 26-July 1 (teen week), 33806 North Fork Road SE, Lyons. Free.
Federal News Radio — First NDAA drafts call for pay raise, increased troops * April 20, 2016
“The past three years the pay raise has been lower than the Employment Cost Index (ECI) … in the military it’s spelled out in law that their pay raises would not drop below ECI,” said Kelly Hruska, government relations director for the National Association of Military Families. “Service members include this in their family budgeting.” Hruska said new retirement pay-in requirements and rising TRICARE costs have dipped into service members’ pockets, slimming down the paycheck they see every month. The 2.1 percent increase would be the largest raise for service members in at least three years.
Lincoln Journal Star — Military Family Association recognizes volunteer Radke * April 20, 2016
Since 2006, Radke has dedicated his time and efforts helping military families in Nebraska. As an outreach specialist, he hosts information tables, attends meetings, and networks with community groups to educate them about NMFA. In addition to his outreach to families in Nebraska, he has served as a member of the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee and represented the Volunteer Corps on our Board of Governors.
Military.com — Tricare to Let Military Families Get Urgent Care Without Preapproval * April 12, 2016
Officials with the National Military Family Association said they are pleased with the pilot roll-out but wish it included more allowed non-referral visits. "We don’t oppose a cap, but we believe a cap should’ve been higher," said Karen Ruedisueli, deputy director of government relations for NMFA. There are many legitimate reasons why people might have to have more than two urgent care visits. If they had had a higher cap, let’s say six or eight a year, it would’ve really allowed them to see how much suppressed demand is out there."
MilitaryTimes — Study: Families experience generally few long-term effects from deployment * April 11, 2016
"My biggest take-away from this whole study is that it was done several years too late," said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. "Rand is quick to admit — multiple times — that the bulk of the long, more intense deployments were over before they could get through all the approval processes and actually begin to field the study. "That's such a shame and should be a lesson to DoD for the future. There should be ongoing longitudinal research being conducted so that we have a good baseline of data about how military families are doing."
Stars and Stripes — Graham: Open federal civilian health plans to Guard and reserves * March 10, 2016
“We surveyed more than 6,100 military spouses in December and January,” Raezer said. “Nearly 30 percent of those who use military treatment facilities reported they rarely or never get an acute-care appointment within the 24-hour access standard.” Tricare reforms proposed in the fiscal 2017 defense budget call for higher fees and co-pays, particularly on working-age retirees and their families, but are short on details for improving benefits delivery, Raezer said. “Continuing to recapture care in military hospitals, already failing to provide timely, appropriate access to current enrollees, will neither improve patient satisfaction nor comprehensively address readiness needs,” she said.
MilitaryTimes — Commissary agency spends nearly $4 million on cost-cutting studies * March 4, 2016
“We do understand these studies were congressionally mandated. We’re willing to concede it might be worthwhile to look at ways to be more efficient,” said Eileen Huck, deputy government relations director at the National Military Family Association. “At the same time, these studies do cost money. It’s regrettable that the Defense Commissary Agency is having to spend money on something that has no value to shoppers,” she said.
MilitarySpouse.com — Applications Open for 2016 Operation Purple Camps * March 3, 2016
The National Military Family Association recently announced that applications for Operation Purple Camps are now OPEN! WHAT IT IS: Operation Purple Camps are week-long camps offered to military-connected kids and teens for FREE. WHERE & WHEN: There are several Operation Purple Camps offered FREE OF CHARGE throughout the U.S. for various dates throughout the summer of 2016.
Military.com — Some Commissary Price Increases Likely Next Year: Lawmaker * February 8, 2016
"It puts at a disadvantage families living in locations where already they are dealing with a high cost of living," said Eileen Huck, a deputy government relations director at the National Military Family Association. "I haven't seen numbers that demonstrate how adopting this model would make the commissary more efficient and allow it to operate at a lower appropriation."
MilitaryTimes — Military leaders promise to extend child care hours, shorten wait lists at child development centers * February 3, 2016
“We are very pleased that the Secretary recognized the importance of child care to military families with young children. Extending CDC hours so they line up with service members’ working hours will make a significant difference to a number of families,” said Eileen Huck, government relations deputy director for the National Military Family Association.
The Wall Street Journal — Defense Secretary Ash Carter Moves to Update Military Benefits * January 29, 2016
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is moving to update the military-benefits system to place it more on par with the private sector, saying changes are needed to recruit and retain the highest-quality personnel for the armed forces.
Huffpost Impact — Boots in the Woods * January 26, 2016
In recent years, the outdoor center that I lead (IslandWood) has extended our services to many new audiences, including military veterans and their families. I have written in the past about the role nature can play in helping veterans and their families heal in the face of physical and mental health challenges associated with combat and long deployments. Recognizing the restorative power of the outdoors, organizations like the National Military Family Association, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and the Wounded Warrior Project hold family programs in natural settings across the country.
MilitaryTimes — Scholarship opportunities available for military children, spouses * January 8, 2016
The National Military Family Association’s Military Spouse Scholarship Program, online entry deadline of midnight Jan. 31. Scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,500 are awarded to spouses pursuing various levels of education or professional advancement. Funding can be used for a wide range of educational pursuits, including all levels of degrees, certification programs, vocational training, licensure fees and exams, professional courses and classes, continuing education credits, high school equivalency programs, and English as a Second Language classes. Spouses of service members in any branch, anywhere in the world, can apply with a valid military ID.
Ydr.com — York County man bikes U.S for charity * January 8, 2016
Most recently, D'Apice completed a 24-hour marathon ride across Texas on Christmas Day and raised close to $10,000 for his charities -- Pencils of Promise, National Military Family Association and Connecting Families – supporting both Third World education initiatives and soldiers’ families here at home. It was by far his best one-day total.
Military Spouse J.D. Network — NMFA Scholarship Opportunities for Military Spouses * January 5, 2016
Now that the chaos of the holidays is over, the time has come to think about the National Military Family Association (NMFA) Spouse Scholarships. Applications are currently being accepted, but only until January 31. The NMFA Spouse Scholarship is a one-time payment that can be used to fund a military spouse’s schooling, professional certification, or licensing. It is an amazing scholarship and education opportunity that you must take advantage of.
MilitaryTimes — New commissary pricing models to be tested * January 4, 2016
The goal is to maintain current benefits while finding more efficient ways to operate to achieve "significant savings for the taxpayer." These definitions and benchmarks are critical, said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. "How do they define the benefit, so they can measure whether or not they're reducing it? How will they determine the tangible and intangible benefits? How will they determine the benchmarks?" she said.
MilitaryTimes — Consumer Watch: App might make charitable contributions easier * December 18, 2015
Veterans Call lets you set up a recurring donation of $5 or $10 a month that’s automatically added to your cellphone bill. There’s no requirement to use a credit card, and the donation can be stopped or changed at any time. The app is free; it is available for download at Google Play and iTunes. There is no fee to donate, and no recurring fees.