When I set out to write the letter for this month, I planned to talk about September 11th and how that day changed things for all of us in military families.
It was not only a day but an entirely new path for our lives that included hard times, fear, and pride in challenges met. The events of that day called for Americans to step up, answer the call of duty, and help others and their communities.
I think about the situation in Afghanistan and the US today. Same places, different situation, some parallels. It’s complicated and saddening, and we know many in our community are facing distress. I also reflect that over 20 years, we prevented further attacks on American soil: that’s important - and we created an opportunity for development that history will make more clear. I also think that today, along with the confusion and chaos, there is also opportunity to work together to build a stronger community.
As it happens, the need to respond to the Afghan unraveling is dovetailing with a major campaign Blue Star Families is running in the last week of September (and will run annually) that we are calling Blue Star Welcome Week. Blue Star Welcome Week exists to help communities better welcome their military and veteran families. That need is real. And it pairs with the need in many communities now to help welcome Afghan allies who are resettling. This month you will hear a lot about Blue Star Welcome Week. We’ll also share about an effort called the Military Community Afghan Allies Response. Together, we are working on tangible ways to care for, represent, and support you and those affected. You’ll learn more about how in the near future.
In addition, there are two key ways to make a difference now. Act. Get help, or give help, check in on family members and friends. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call the Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1, or text 838255. Volunteer. Consider contributing your time and resources to organizations, programs, and services helping the cause. To learn more about organizations to get help from or contribute to, visit the Afghanistan Response Resources. And through it all, try to Enjoy. We have wonderful activities this month for you and your family and your community to enjoy each other.
Your service and what you do, day-in and day-out for the community, is noble, purposeful, and admirable. And though we may find ourselves in a time of uncertainty again, there is one thing I know for sure. When we step up to help others and welcome them into our community, it makes our mission that much clearer. We believe - and we know - we’re all stronger when we take care of one another.
Have you heard about the Blue Star Welcome Week Challenge? It’s a virtual race to get our community moving while inspiring our circles to create “moments of welcome” for military families. Will you help us by serving as a Team Captain, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same?
Join Arts in the Armed Forces and Blue Star Families on September 27th for a LIVE Q&A with actor, writer, producer, and director John Turturro (Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski). This event will be facilitated by Col. Randel J Gordon (USAF), and conversations will surround one of John’s favorite films, The Executioner. Learn more and register today.
Below, you’ll discover the many great things we have planned to help you enjoy another action-packed Blue Star Summer.
Looking for something to do with the family? Experience a Blue Star Museum! This complimentary admission program is for active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, and it’s open through Labor Day (September 6th). Participating museums are located in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Simply show your DoD ID card for entry.
Calling all military spouses! Our partners are ready to show you how to navigate their application process. During our live employer spotlights every Tuesday, you’ll hear exclusive tips, tricks, and application hacks. Register to attend the next one, so you’ll be notified when we go live. You can also join our virtual Spouseforce community for more opportunities like this one!
Are you looking for part-time or full-time work, or just simple projects to make some extra cash? Blue Star Careers has partnered with the Steady app to bring you a convenient way to build your income, build your life, and earn extra money on your terms.
Thank You, USAA & Salesforce!
Because of your generous gift, we were able to hire Charo Bates, Applied Research & Social Impact DEPLOY Fellow; Quiana Abner, National Chapter DEPLOY Fellow; Leslie Wightman, Technology DEPLOY Fellow; Nicole Rawlinson, Parks DEPLOY Fellow; and Brandy Tillman, Communications DEPLOY Fellow. We’re so excited to have them on our team, and we look forward to seeing the positive impacts they make for the military-connected community. Welcome, Charo, Quiana, Leslie, Nicole, and Brandy!
Blue Star Families is excited to join forces, once again, with Civics Unplugged for its Civics Unplugged Fellowship! Register for more information on how your high school student can apply for this free, virtual three-month leadership program.
If your family is experiencing financial stress due to the pandemic, you’re not alone. The good news is, you may be eligible for financial support, including zero-interest loans and grants for qualifying military families and retired service members.
Thank You to Our Supporters
Blue Star Welcome Week wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our partners at Craig Newmark Philanthropies, TriWest, and Philips! Join us in celebrating military families this month.