One summer as a nanny. One year as a nursery worker. Two years teaching. Six months as a tutor.

Three years at Blue Star Families.

Blue Star Families is proud to support military families through our research and programming, and also through remote and portable employment opportunities. Our staff team is located all over the country and the world, wherever military families are stationed. Get to know us through our new series – #WeAreBSF.

To a recruiter, my resume since graduating college might look like a hot mess, but to a military spouse – I can already imagine you reading this, nodding your head thinking, “That looks about right.”

I never imagined that my career would look like this. I always thought I would be a teacher. How did I end up working in technology and marketing? Well… isn’t it obvious? I’m a military spouse.

I know so many military spouses that make their teaching careers work. They move from state to state, getting certified or transferring their certification everywhere they go. I am the first to say, they have mad skills. When we moved from Texas to Louisiana, I tried to find a job. But the idea of having to take the Praxis, after just a few years earlier taking the TExES, was a daunting idea, and the school systems in Louisiana were presented as extremely challenging to me by military and locals alike.  

So, I started looking. I used every resource available to me, including the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. One day, I got an email with career opportunities from them, and on it was a job description for a partially virtual, part-time job. That job was with Blue Star Families.

I began at Blue Star Families as a Hunt Fellow. Think of a Fellowship as an internship. This position was grant-based and required base access. For over a year, I worked beside the Hunt Housing office staff on base trying to grow membership for Blue Star Families in Shreveport, Louisiana. During that time, I also worked from home developing Blue Star Families’ email marketing platform. I started with just a few emails here and there, but the more opportunities I received, the more I loved it. Here I was, a former writing teacher, actually WRITING! Take that, kid who told me she would never need to write a personal narrative other than for standardized tests!

As the company’s structure changed, a new opportunity opened up. I applied for a new fellowship with Blue Star Families; that for the Technology Fellow. This position was completely virtual. There were no grant restrictions that required me to live in a specific area. I was able to work from home, learning the basics of Salesforce administration while also learning a deeper understanding of Marketing Cloud- a program I use every day for email marketing.

Each fellowship is a year-long contract, and at the conclusion of my second fellowship, I was offered a part-time staff position with Blue Star Families to continue working as their Technology and Marketing Specialist. I now work every day with an amazing group of military spouses from home, virtually. I’m lucky in that I can take my job with me anywhere that has electricity and the internet.

Sometimes I do miss teaching, especially working with the kids. By working at a non-profit, I’m still helping people every day, which is the part that matters the most to me. So, when you get this month’s newsletter, open it and give me some click love- let me know I’m on the right path.

Valerie Nicholas is an Air Force Spouse, with a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Master’s of Education and experience working as a teacher. Valerie began working with Blue Star Families as a Membership Fellow, and evolved into a valued member of our Technology and Engagement Management Team. Valerie’s favorite program at Blue Star Families is SpouseForce, as she feels it is a powerful tool for military spouses.

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