by Josie Beets, Guest Contributor
I love being a military spouse. But when the challenges of military service outpace my love and patience, I’m lucky to be connected to organizations that link me to other military spouses struggling with similar issues.
These organizations provide a crucial service to our community and recognize that in the all-volunteer force, families are the ones who get drafted. We move from place to place with little say in our next destination, live far from our families, cope with multiple separations, sacrifice career goals – not just for love of country but for love of our service member.
Military spouses have learned to adapt and support one another through these challenges not only through military service-sponsored organizations (FRGs, Key spouse programs, etc.) but also through nonprofit work. There is no lack of spouse-oriented nonprofits serving military families, but many organizations are small and under-resourced, both in terms of money and volunteers.
On August 26, the Association of the U.S. Army and the Military Spouse JD Network will convene these military spouse-led organizations for a conversation about how to bring together our community to maximize our collective impact.
The event, Learning & Leaning In: Military Spouse Non-Profits Supporting Each Other, will be a daylong educational forum that will begin the conversation about expanding the reach of all military spouse-led organizations by taking a more global view of the mission, sharing expertise and finding ways to collaborate to make our spouse-led nonprofits more effective. Our community is stronger when we work together to advance our goals, and no one is better qualified to serve our community than one of us.
Here are the details.
Military Spouse Non-Profits Supporting Each Other
Friday, August 26, 2016
Association of the United States Army, 2425 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA
But you’re probably asking why should you come? Because:
You are a military spouse leading a nonprofit that serves our military family community. Rather than sitting back, seeing the challenges of military life and throwing your hands in the air, you stood up to help your community.
You saw a need and filled it.
You’ve learned that helping our own military community is an incredible way to serve our country.
Now, we need you to come to Learning & Leaning In to build collaborations to make our military family community even stronger. This event is the beginning of a conversation about how we can work together to better serve and we need your voice.
You are a small organization looking to grow. You are the little engine that could! With tiny resources and a strong mission, you serve your military family community with passion. If only you had more structural support, connections to donors or a how-to-guide, you just know you could serve a bigger piece of the military community.
Learning & Leaning In will connect you with other military spouse-led nonprofits to create opportunities for collaboration — by sharing resources, we can amplify our good work.
You are a large organization looking to expand your programs and reach new audiences. You’ve already done the hard work of becoming an established, successful nonprofit. You have supporters, donors, leaders, and a community to support.
But maybe you’re looking for a way to reach a new audience. Maybe your program ideas need some inspiration. Learning & Leaning In is a great way to connect with organizations on the cutting edge of delivery of services and a great way to explore opportunities to work with other organizations to serve our community.
The community you serve has needs that you’re not able to fill. You’ve got a great organization that serves military families, but the community you serve still has needs that you’re not equipped to serve.
Maybe you serve professional military spouses, but don’t have the resources to connect them to child care resources.
Or you work with military spouses on mental health issues, but are looking for a broader provider of wellness resources.
Learning & Leaning In will provide you with connections across organizations that will allow you to better serve your community while tapping into the resources of the entire community.
You know we are stronger together. This week, my youngest turned four. Along with celebration and cake, a birthday in our house also means a lesson in sharing – if you want to have fun, you’ve got to share your new toys with your friends or this mamma will shut the party down.
If we want to have a successful, inclusive military family community led by military families themselves, we should be able to share resources, information, and talent. Learning & Leaning In is the first step in creating an environment of collaboration in the military family nonprofit community.
I hope you will join us at this event. Register here.
Josie Beets is an attorney, a military spouse, and the president of the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN), a bar association for military spouses.