The new year is here, and we are ready with open arms! Military families know the anticipation of joy and do their best to savor each moment — the good and the bad. With this fresh year, Blue Star Families is making plans and ready to take action in 2023.
We are so excited to tackle the new year full of enthusiasm and innovative ways to help military families thrive while keeping them connected.
Our biggest change is ready for YOU right now! We invite all of our military- and Veteran-connected families to join us in our powerful and personalized digital environment, the Blue Star Neighborhood. Whether you are in a Chapter location or not, our goal is to better help our members find community and support. Join us today!
To keep things interesting, later this month we’ll be doing an awesome giveaway for our members. Details are coming but log into the Neighborhood now to set up your profile. That way you’re ready for the giveaway!
At Blue Star Families, we’re curious. We constantly ask you to tell us how you’re doing. Well, we’re proud to let you know that our research drove policy efforts to support military and Veteran families that were passed in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These wins are huge in raising the nation's awareness of the unique challenges of military family life — both during and after service. Some highlights include:
- Blue Star Families' research discovered that students of color are widely under-represented among recipients of ROTC scholarships and accessions to the officer corps. As a direct result of our research, the NDAA requires the DOD to collect and report demographic data about SROTC scholarship awards and completion rates for the first time. The new language passed in the NDAA will give stakeholders more insight into addressing the root causes of this issue.
- The NDAA mandates the DOD to explore and evaluate new options for calculating BAH to include school districts, aligning with our research showing that military families consider school districts as a top factor when searching for housing. It also mandates whether BAH should be calculated more frequently; aligning with our recommendation to make BAH responsive to sudden changes in housing markets.
- Citing Blue Star Families’ 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey findings, a bipartisan group of nearly 60 lawmakers called on the Secretary of Defense to use his authority to restore BAH payments to 100 percent of the calculated rate.
- The work won’t stop here! We will continue to work and share our research from your ongoing responses to our surveys. YOU are key to making this change. Thank you for sharing your voice!
There is a lot more happening throughout the month and more planned for 2023. We’ve got Blue Star Outdoors activities, Support Circles, and more resources to keep your military family thriving.
Stay connected with us! We’re proud to offer the Blue Star Neighborhood as our bold response to create a new space for everyone to feel better connected. Don’t forget, you can always reach out to Blue Star Families by finding a Chapter near you or visiting us on social media.
We’re looking forward to all that 2023 brings!
Policy Wins for Military Families in this year's NDAA!
Your voice drives change! Blue Star Families’ research supported several policy efforts to support military and Veteran families, included and passed in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
As a direct result of our research, Congress just passed a requirement to collect and report demographic data about SROTC scholarship awards and completion rates for the first time ever! In our 2021 REI Report released in early 2022, and powered by your voices, Blue Star Families' research discovered that students of color are under-represented among recipients of ROTC scholarships and accessions to the officer corps, but the Department of Defense did not collect sufficient data to understand why this is the case. The new language will give stakeholders more insight into why this is the case and allow the problem to be addressed at its root.
BAH calculations should include factors that actually reflect how military families choose where they live — like a good school district. This year's NDAA instructs the DOD to explore new options for calculating BAH that includes school districts, an extremely important part of housing choice for military families.
Our research on caregivers in military families shows that many military family members don't consider themselves caregivers, even if they are doing the work of caregiving. The NDAA directs the Congressional Research Service to develop a report on caregivers in military families, further expanding our understanding of the needs for military family caregivers.
Finally, the NDAA will authorize a 4.6% pay raise for military members and the Defense Department’s civilian workers — one of the largest increases in recent history!
Come Be Our Neighbor! Join The Blue Star Neighborhood Today!
We invite all of our military- and Veteran-connected families to join us in our powerful and personalized digital environment, the Blue Star Neighborhood. If you are in a Chapter location or not, our goal is to better help our members find community and support.
Let’s Discuss Debt
Watch our Money Mondays webinar hosted by the JP Morgan Chase Financial Wellness DEPLOY Fellow, as she is joined by experts to dig deep into why debt continues to be the number one financial problem for military families. They share lots of valuable information about types of debt, debt avoidance, debt management, debt consolidation, credit cards, and share a lot of resources.
Start the New Year in Nature
Head over to the Blue Star Outdoors page for resources to get your family outdoors — from our monthly Tinkergarten activity calendar to our new Winter BINGO at Home to bring nature to even our inside weather days. We hope your family will find time and space to connect with each other and your community through nature this winter.
Blue Star Support Circles | Upstream Solutions to Crisis
Blue Star Families will be launching Blue Star Support Circles - Upstream Solutions to Crisis next month. This peer-based, non-clinical, cohort program is designed for Veteran supporters, who are concerned about a Veteran in their lives who may be at risk of suicide. Groups of no more than 15 Veteran supporters will meet for eight weeks, connect with peers, and learn from experts on how to recognize warning signs, how to intervene, what to say, and how to help keep their Veteran safe. If you would be interested in participating, please click here.
Will You Be Next?
Karl Gerner, military spouse and T-Mobile Federal Regulatory Counsel, found a career with #TeamMagenta. Will you be next? Connect with a T-Mobile recruiter today: https://bit.ly/3T9J75v
Thank You, Blue Star Partners!
We at Blue Star Families want to send our thanks and appreciation for the very generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lockheed Martin, Salesforce, and Wells Fargo. Because of the generous gift of these partners, we work with some outstanding individuals – Lydiah Owiti, Financial Wellness DEPLOY Fellow; Marla Bautista, Food Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow; Angela Alford, Technology DEPLOY Fellow; and Kimberly Gold, Wells Fargo Housing DEPLOY Fellow. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many, and for that, we are grateful. Thank you!
Learn From the World's Best
MasterClass is proud to partner with Blue Star Families to offer no-cost annual memberships to the entire MasterClass platform for one year (a $180 value)! Enter to receive a “get one, give one” MasterClass subscription for yourself and another this holiday season.