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Local Neighbors

It has been a long fight for military and Veteran families for the past 20 years, and we are still on duty. Military- and Veteran-connected families are in our communities and need our support! Become more connected in your community and show support to military and Veteran families by wearing a Blue Star Welcome paracord bracelet. The red, white, and blue colors represent military and Veteran families of all service branches, and the yellow ribbon represents a commitment to welcome military and Veteran families to their new neighborhoods.

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Help us welcome them home!

Our military and Veteran families need your support as their local neighbor. Why? Because the average military-connected family moves three times as often as their local peers. The majority of these permanent change of station (PCS) moves take place during the summer. And, while more than 70% of families live off base in their local communities, many do not feel a strong sense of belonging to those communities.

But the effort doesn’t stop during Welcome Week! We need to take the excitement and awareness generated during this special week and carry it through the whole year. Here are some ideas of ways you can help create a sense of belonging for these families all year long:

  • Invite them to join a group you belong to—book club, walking group, playdates, game night, etc. 
  • Suggest locations and activities that only a local would know about.
  • Engage with them more than once. Friendships are developed through repeated interactions, and that can be difficult for a family that moves every two years. 
  • Offer opportunities to connect that aren’t military “mandatory fun.” It’s refreshing to do something different and expand our circle of acquaintances. 
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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough recorded a message just for local neighbors!

“Now that the war in Afghanistan has ended, our troops have done their part. Now it’s our turn.”

Welcome Week Volunteer

Volunteer in Your Community

Establish a connection with your community and meet people with similar interests. Click on the buttons below for more options to learn about local opportunities available to you.

How to Stay Involved

Participating in Blue Star Welcome Week is just the beginning of a journey to be a good neighbor to military and Veteran families! Your gestures of kindness, friendship, and inclusion make a world of difference to people who are serving in your community for a couple of years or settling in after their time of service. Never underestimate the significance of small gestures like an invitation to coffee or a playdate! If you are looking for even more ways to stay involved, check out these options:

MCEC

Find out how to receive Purple Star School designation for your school or district. The Purple Star School program is a national initiative sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition® to help families reduce the burdens of frequent mobility that military-connected families may experience. It is designed to empower schools to respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges children in military and Veteran families face during transition to a new school and keep them on track to be college, workforce, and life-ready.

MCEC

Take free, virtual courses for communities serving Veterans from PsychArmor® to learn how to increase collaboration and activate community support for Veterans and their families. Because fewer than 7% of Americans serve or have served in uniform, most civilians are unfamiliar with military culture. As a result, members of the military and Veteran community often feel misunderstood and reluctant to seek support. The mission of PsychArmor® is to bridge that civilian-military gap by educating a nation.

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Watch Blue Star Families' CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet’s TEDx Talk on how to heal divisions. Kathy, a Marine Corps Veteran spouse, debunks some of the most common myths about the military, reveals some surprising truths, and shows how the rest of us can play a vital role in our own hometowns by supporting those who serve, creating a path for Americans of all stripes to come together.