ST. ROBERT, M.O. – Military families at Fort Leonard Wood paid Valentine’s Day love forward this week thanks to a partnership between Blue Star Families and Starbucks.
Blue Star Families local chapter leads, Melissa and Tai—nicknamed Cupid’s Helpers—decided there was no better way to celebrate the holiday of love than having military children give cards to soldiers fresh out of basic training and veterans of the local veterans home.
We often think about honoring current-serving troops, but what about those who are new or those who have been forgotten? As a new soldier came in to share a drink with her family, she was given a Valentine’s Day card and we were able to capture the sweet moment as it happened. This simple act of kindness made her day and the children were happy to make a difference.
National organization engages locally
This event is just one of the program offerings of Blue Start Families. The organization works to empower “families to thrive while they serve,” and the group often works with partners, like Starbucks, to host gatherings throughout the year.
In December, for example, the duo teamed up for a yellow ribbon event in support of the troops and military families during the holiday season. This ongoing relationship is an opportunity to bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities.
With more than 150,000 members in chapters all over the world, Blue Star Families recognizes events like this are the backbone of the military family experience. In fact, recent findings of the 2019 survey revealed 48 percent of families felt that they didn’t belong in the local civilian community, while 43 percent say they didn’t belong in their own military community. Events like this are essential in breaking the barrier and offering people the chance to connect with others.
It’s also up to military families to take advantage of these opportunities. Attendance is mutually beneficial because it offers you a chance to integrate into your community while giving organizations–like Blue Star Families—incentive to sponsor more events like this.
How to participate at your duty station
Check MWR and your installation’s website
This is a great starting point for gaining useful event information. Between the website and MWR, updated community information will be available to you and your family well in advance. If you’re new to an area, consider attending one to two new events a month to get a feel for your community. Also, consider attending events on and off post for a social mix of military and civilian.
Join local Facebook groups and follow the pages
Facebook groups get a bad name but they really are the most useful, quick and effective way to connect with others around you and get information as it comes. Many military spouses have been able to meet some of their best friends over the internet before meeting them in person.
If time permits, find a passion project or organization that fits your values and volunteer your time. I’ve found that you only get out of a community what you put into it. By donating your time, you become an integral part of that community and enhance your experience while assisting others. Plus, frequent volunteerism can often solve another problem within our community such as unemployment. Volunteering frequently will often put you at the top of the call list when employment opportunities arise with an organization.
Visit Blue Star Families to learn more about programs and volunteer opportunities.Read comments