I’m a military spouse that believes everyone can be a changemaker. Do you know why? Because I am.
My life started pretty rough; my parents passed away when I was an adolescent. As a young adult, I was homeless and had to learn how to advocate for myself and others who were less fortunate. Throughout my life, I have used my voice to champion causes that are important to me, like my family, the military community, and people in need.
As military spouses, we are no strangers to service. We support our service members as they serve and protect our nation, and we help our communities through advocacy and volunteerism. But what if you want to get more involved? Whether at your duty station or back home, there are multiple ways you can engage in positive social change as a military spouse — here are three ideas to get you started.
Serve your community
Whether it’s as part of your civilian job or as a volunteer, find an organization of interest and give them your time. Participating in events, fundraisers, and community building will help you feel connected and engaged at your duty station. If you’re interested in military spouse advocacy and want to learn more about national issues affecting military families, consider joining organizations like National Military Family Association and Blue Star Families. The key is to get involved and make an impact through local efforts.
Advocate for issues impacting your community
Military spouses are no strangers to serving others; they do it every day. Whether in your local community or military installation, there’s always an opportunity to help someone who needs assistance. Whether you want to feed those in need, organize a fundraiser for families of fallen service members or raise awareness about an issue that impacts you and your family, there’s a way for you to be a changemaker where you live.
3 steps to get started:
1. Identify what you want to accomplish
First, think about how much time and effort you can dedicate to being a changemaker. Then, identify what change you want to make happen — whether it’s providing food for families in need or raising money for military children during the holidays. Finally, decide if advocacy would be beneficial (i.e., would more people benefit from knowing about your cause?)
2. Create a plan
Now that you know what change you want to make happen, it’s time to create a plan. How will you reach out to other military spouses? What kind of support will you need from friends and family? Who will assist with spreading the word about your project? By answering these questions beforehand, you’ll be able to avoid any roadblocks along the way when trying to start your project
3. Make sure it happens
Once your ducks are in a row — meaning everything is set up according to plan — execute your ideas.
This might mean putting together flyers to distribute around your military installation, organizing a meeting with key stakeholders involved in your campaign, or simply picking up trash around the neighborhood. The important thing is to act and keep moving forward. It might feel like you’re alone at first, but chances are there are many other military spouses willing to lend their support once they hear about what you’re doing.