National Newsletter  |  Issue #27


A Note From Blue Star Families

We Heard You Loud and Clear!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2024! We hope you had a restful and rejuvenating holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones.

We here at Blue Star Families are all about making military life awesome — and in order to do that, we rely on you, our members, to tell us what you want more of. Thank you to those of you who took our Social Impact Survey in November. We heard you loud and clear! You told us you want more outdoor programming, the ability to connect with one another, and access to resources to explore your communities.

In partnership with the Defense Health Agency, the National Park Service, and Wilderness Inquiry, we are expanding our outdoor programming significantly in 2024. Building on Blue Star Outdoors and Outdoor Explorers for All — which so many of you have taken part in over the past few years — we are launching Military Families Outdoors. Not only are we increasing the size of the program and the number of families who will be able to participate, but we’re expanding to new states and communities across the country. Our goal in 2024 is to get thousands more of our members and their families outside to enjoy nature and build connections with each other.

We will be announcing new program locations and participation opportunities in early spring, so please stay tuned! We can’t wait to see you all in the parks!

… and speaking of staying connected and being in-the-know with announcements and resources from Blue Star Families … have you joined The Neighborhood yet? There’s a community for everyone and every interest in The Neighborhood, and whether you’re interested in career support, or sharing recipes or travel tips, there’s a Community of folks waiting for you there! Be sure to sign up and start connecting today.


Dr. Lindsay Knight
Executive Vice President, Social Impact


The 4+1 Commitment

Blue Star Families and Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) convened on Dec. 6th to announce the launch of the 4+1 Commitment: The Formula for Military Spouse Success, a first-of-its-kind, nationwide effort to tackle the 21% unemployment rate among military spouses. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was in attendance and delivered remarks that spoke to the importance of supporting military families.

Join The New Blue Star Neighborhood Lifestyle Groups!

Whether you’re into gaming, cooking, fitness, pets, parenting — or all of the above — The Blue Star Neighborhood’s new lifestyle groups are ready to welcome you! Join us as we share new recipes, workout plans, pictures of our fur babies, memes, and more!

Snag Your Free Subscription to MasterClass

Whether you're looking to grow personally, professionally, or just want to learn something new, MasterClass has a class for that! Blue Star Families is proud to partner with MasterClass to offer no-cost annual memberships to the entire MasterClass platform for one year (a $180 value). Grab yours and let's get to learning!

2024 Wellness Challenge

Meet Kiesha Yokers, a Navy wife, mom, and Blue Star Families member. As the Head of Breathwork at Lindywell, a pilates and breathwork company, Kiesha brings firsthand understanding of the highs and lows of military life. Join Kiesha and her team for an exclusive immersive pilates and breathwork challenge for Blue Star Families members in February — an experience you won't want to miss. More information is coming soon!


40% Off T-Mobile

Our NEW  Blue Star Careers Community is a safe digital space for military spouses - with easy access and a 2-way relationship. You get to be an active participant in our digital community network by telling us what you need to be career-ready, and we provide you with the resources you need to be successful. Log in, review our content, participate, and grow your career: #Bilingual Talent Welcome! 

Stars & Stripes Welcomes You Home — No Matter Where You Go!

No matter where you go, Stars and Stripes is with you. Moving to Europe, the Pacific, or even the National Capital Region can feel overwhelming. Stars and Stripes has you covered with the most up-to-date welcome guides! These publications contain essential information, including local customs and traditions, banking options, house hunting, school choices, valuable contacts, resources, and much more. Welcome home!

Cindy's Path to a New Career

Check out how Cindy, a Navy Veteran and military spouse, is leveling up in 2024 thanks to new skills she’s learning with Salesforce Military. Want to make a career change like Cindy? Click the link if you’re ready to join her!

Find Your New Community with Nextdoor

Military families know that moving is hard. Not just the logistics, but getting to know a new community every few years and getting reintegrated is tough. In a partnership with Blue Star Families, Nextdoor's new Military Movers website allows families like yours to effortlessly connect with and explore their new community. Visit the website today and discover a whole new way to embrace your new home!

Welcome 2024 With New Upskilling Options!

Are you ready to re-enter or pivot to a new career? Join our Blue Star Careers resource library in The Neighborhood. We have access to over 11K upskilling options and all the Grow with Google Certifications at no cost.

CALM: Conversations on Access to Lethal Means

The Veteran Spouse Network now offers our military and Veteran community free CALM training. Join them to learn practical ways to talk to someone you love in a mental health crisis about access to lethal means. Sign up, and let's talk about it!

Research Participation Opportunity!

The Applied Research team is looking for military, Veteran, and DOD civilians and their families who live in or near the following four communities: San Antonio, Texas; Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia; South Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Davis County, Utah to participate in focus groups so we can learn what makes you feel like you belong in your community. The focus groups will be held virtually in late February. Participants selected for the focus groups will receive a $50 Amazon gift card for their participation.


We’ve Been Busy at the U.S. Capitol!

We took some very big steps forward for our policy efforts in Washington, D.C. this year! Due to our hard work empowering military and Veteran families, we were invited to testify before a rare joint hearing of the Senate Armed Services and Veteran Affairs Committees about our work on military transitions. We were also invited to introduce our work to separate meetings of House Republican and Democratic leaders about our priorities. Additionally, this fall we began meeting with the House Armed Services Committee offices to develop ways to improve the quality of life for military families, including in the areas of child care, health care, housing, and others. And further demonstrating our progress and reputation as an organization, Blue Star Families was invited for the first time to testify before an annual joint hearing by the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees this coming March. Stay tuned for more exciting policy updates!

Thank You Starbucks Partners and Volunteers!

Thank you, Starbucks partners and volunteers, who helped us set up more than 150 Yellow Ribbon Trees to honor service members away for the holidays! We are so grateful for your efforts and appreciate your dedication to making military families feel welcome, no matter where the mission takes them. Looking to get involved and support military families this year?


The Impact of Collective Generosity

Between September and December, partnerships with the WHHA, Armanino Accounting and Business Consulting, Aura, and thousands of new friends in our Facebook Challenge Communities helped make an impact on the mission of BSF through the collective generosity of more than 3,000 new individual partners! If YOU participated in one of these opportunities — thank you for doing your part!

DEPLOY Fellowship Cohort 3

Since starting in September, our DEPLOY Fellows have been hard at work at Blue Star Families! They have been an integral part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion work we set out to do, and have added immeasurable value to the effort. From creating safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ military-connected youth, helping feed food insecure families, to advocating for diverse families in financial literacy, the outdoors, and in Congress, these Fellows are committed to making a difference and educating on the importance of representation in their respective fields. To learn more about their continued efforts, check out the You Belong Here Newsletter on LinkedIn!

A New York Makeover

We teamed up with Moving with The Military and some incredibly generous partners to provide a food pantry makeover in the Craig Newmark New York Tri-State Chapter! This amazing opportunity was made possible by Land O'Lakes, Floor Coverings International of Staten Island, SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation, Homes for Heroes, Shannyn and Jesse Hal, Cognitive Exchange, Starbucks, Amazon, and the amazing volunteers from Phillips 66, the U.S. Coast Guard, and AmeriCorps.

Fisher House Foundation 2024-2025 Scholarships Are Open!

Fisher House Foundation's scholarship cycle with DECA for the 2024-2025 school year is now open. The scholarships are available to all military children with a DOD ID card.

More information is available on their website.

You Belong Here!

Are you looking for the inside scoop on the latest that Blue Star Families has to offer military families and their community supporters? Check out The Neighborhood! The Neighborhood is a wonderful place to share your experiences, connect, and stay in the know about all things military-related. There, you'll learn about our upcoming events (both virtual and in-person), connect with local Chapters, access your free benefits, get career support, and more!

We'd like to thank the following organizations for supporting Blue Star Families!