Published: August 12, 2020
We’re always looking for ways to expand our reach to further empower military families and create vibrant communities of mutual support across the country. But we can’t do that without the support from Blue Star Neighbors like the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
Because of the organization’s generous support, we’ve expanded our community-building efforts specifically for our Craig Newmark New York Tri-State Chapter, with a focus on arts and wellness.
Here are some events and opportunities we’ve offered NYC-based MilFams so far thanks to the partnership:
- Family gathering at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan—focused on healthy eating and a cooking class, followed by games and refreshments at a city park nearby
- Joined forces with Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), the Theatre Development Fund, and Waterwell Theatre Company—provided opportunities to enjoy Broadway shows such as Frozen, Wicked, Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, as well as talkbacks with actors after a few of the featured shows; offered the chance to join Waterwell Theatre Company’s Conversation Project “talking groups” with Broadway and film actors as well as the ability to share insight into how COVID-19 has affected the lives of service member families and civilians in the NYC community; currently presenting virtual movie screenings and talkbacks to Blue Star Families members through AITAF
- Two events/tours at the Rubin Museum of Art—focused on mindfulness, and featured long table talks among military family members and Blue Star Neighbors
- Family event at the New York Botanical Garden—included a scavenger hunt throughout the grounds of the gardens
- Family gathering at the Intrepid Air, Sea & Space Museum—presented a deep exploration of space throughout tours, family activities, and a mobile planetarium visit
- Pivoted to virtual events due to the impacts of COVID-19—offered opportunities for virtual connection through music meet-up classes, wind-down Wednesdays (local singers joined to perform and lead discussions), a virtual Flag Day Festival with 1940s music performed by The Benson Sisters, and more
We called on Blue Star Nation to share their experiences & appreciation, and here’s what some had to say:
“We just PCSd here on March 5th. We were homeschooling before but had decided to try the public school once we got there because my daughter really wanted to try it. Then COVID-19 happened. Now we are in quarantine. We just got our household goods and we can’t go out to meet anyone. We were planning on starting piano lessons when we got here, and then I saw the email that Blue Star Families is offering music classes. So, I signed her up. Thank you!” – Jessica, Milspouse & Music Meet-Ups Attendee
“It was really great to have that experience to get an insider’s view of what the whole inner meanings were and background experience of building the performance. Wonderful benefit.” – Milspouse, Recipient of Broadway Show Tickets
“This was a great event. I’ve never been to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Thank you for bringing us here. My child loved making pancakes at the cooking class. I loved our volunteers’ attitude. They are always kind and helpful.” – Milspouse, Children’s Museum of Manhattan Event Attendee
“[…] these events have truly been a “lifesaver” for us. The events sponsored by Blue Star Families, such as the Flag Day Festivities, have truly impacted positively our “Ohana’s” (family’s) physical, mental, and emotional well being. We participate in these events as a strategy to support our family in coping with this pandemic, and the more recent civil unrest and violence. […] We feel very blessed and grateful to have these events, and be part of such a wonderful organization. “Mahalo Nui Loa” for everything you do for our service members, Veterans, Retirees, and their “Ohanas.” – Cynthia, Milspouse
Thank you, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, for being an awesome Blue Star Neighbor!