Family

Lead Nonprofits:

Blue Star Families Military Child Education Coalition

Strengthening Military Families

In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, Blue Star Families, the Military Child Education Coalition, and their partners will provide reintegration tools and training to 300,000 military families and 100,000 primary and secondary school educators by December 2014.

Find out why our model is working with Blue Star Families and the Military Child Education Coalition.

The Issue

Millions of active duty, Reserve and National Guard Service members are serving our country. Many have a family that participates in the service members’ sacrifice but is often overlooked by government and civilian organizations. And because the people in military service make up only one percent of the country’s total population, most Americans don’t have first-hand knowledge of the military experience.

Blue Star Families is committed to supporting one another through the unique challenges of military service and asking the larger civilian population to help as well, connecting military families regardless of rank, branch of service or physical location, and empowering military family members to create the best personal and family life possible for themselves.

About the Lead Nonprofit Partners

Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve. The mission of Blue Star Families is to support, connect, and empower military families. In addition to morale and empowerment programs, Blue Star Families gives military families a voice, raising awareness about the challenges facing military families and working to make military life more sustainable. Membership includes military spouses, children and parents as well as service members, veterans and civilians.

Military Child Education Coalition is a 501(c) (3) global, nonprofit organization focused exclusively on the well being and needs of America’s two million military-connected children of Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve Forces, Coast Guard, and the nearly two million more children of Post 9/11 Veterans, specifically in the areas of academic opportunity and excellence, school transition support, and developmental needs. MCEC’s goal is to ensure that every military-connected child grows and thrives through good and challenging times so that they are college, work place, and ultimately, life-ready.

Working with the Best

Blue Star Families is an organization created by and for military families, uniquely placed to understand the challenges faced by our military families and children in school, through deployment, and at home. Through annual surveys, empowering programs, resources, and volunteer opportunities for military children and families, Blue Star Families gives military families a voice.

The mission of the Military Child Education Coalition is to ensure inclusive, quality educational experiences for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. As a cohesive team of military parents and students, military leaders, educators, professional organizations, and local communities, the Military Child Education Coalition has been creating relevant programs for over 15 years that serve military-connected children. These successful programs are recognized around the world and throughout the Department of Defense. Beyond the professional development training and service programs that serve parents, children and youth, and communities, MCEC conducts evidence-based research, provides valuable resources and tools, and pursues education initiatives at federal, state, and local levels that will enhance the education of military-connected children and youth.

Collaboration

The two goals set forth in the Family pillar reflect the specialties of the two nonprofits that have taken leading roles in this pillar. Blue Star Families are the subject matter experts in military families and reintegration, while MCEC specialize in education of military children. By educating teachers and military family members, Got Your 6 is able to leverage the best assets of our nonprofit partners. More importantly, Blue Star Families and MCEC are able to leverage each other’s skills and resources to achieve these goals together. Along with important strategic partners like the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Operation Gratitude, and the USO, the Got Your 6 Family Pillar serves as a true model for collaboration.

Got Your 6 Commitment

In coordination with the Got Your 6 campaign, Blue Star Families, the Military Child Education Coalition, and their partners will provide reintegration tools and training to 300,000 military families and 100,000 primary and secondary school educators by December 2014.

Clinton Global Initiative

Working to Make it a Reality

Handbook Development: In 2010, in recognition that military families needed a resource to address the deployment process, Defense Centers of Excellence, in conjunction with Vulcan Productions and This Emotional Life, produced “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family & Friends of Service Members During Pre-Deployment, Deployment and Reintegration.” Blue Star Families provided content advice and guidance for its development. The handbook has been in high demand since its creation, because it addresses all the emotions from the first stages of deployment to the reintegration process.

Educating Families and Communities: Blue Star Families is currently updating the handbook with the cooperation of the Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE), SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), HealthNet, and Vulcan Productions. The updated handbook will integrate the preferences and suggestions collected from military family users, and it will focus more on post-deployment and reintegration, areas where many military families and children face challenges. Understanding that deployments look different to military families from different branches, there will also be more highlighted personal accounts from spouses, parents, children, and service providers of service members. Finally, knowing how much military families rely on social media for both interactive support and seeking out information, the new handbook will include an e-book and the potential development of a smartphone app. The updated handbook and social media platforms will be a valuable tool to educate our military families and community leaders, such as teachers, social workers and volunteers.

Educating the Educators: There is a need for consistent, sustained nationwide training for primary and secondary school educators about the unique challenges that military-connected children face and how to best foster resilience within school environments. This Military Child Education Coalition effort is consistent with the focus by Joining Forces, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education on increasing training for both military and public school educators about how to help children succeed in the classroom and enjoy the rewards of school life. Teamed with strategic partners, such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and others, MCEC works to provide guiding principles, professional development training and services, and to make resources and tools available to those who will educate America’s military-connected children and youth. The goal is to impact 100,000 prekindergarten-university educators by the end of 2014. The intent is to ensure these educators possess needed skills, such as how to identify, reinforce strengths and respond appropriately to the complex needs of the children and youth whose parents are currently serving in the Armed Forces or are Post 9/11 Veterans.

Working with Got Your 6 to Amplify the Effort

To reach 100,000 primary, secondary and higher education professionals by 2014, the Military Child Education Coalition will partner with relevant entertainment community stakeholders from the Got Your 6 campaign whenever opportunities exist to communicate this issue to educators and the general public nationwide through broadcast and other media forms.

Got Your 6 is already working with Blue Star Families and its partners to help develop and promote the updated handbook and social media resources and to reach our military community. Through the help of Got Your 6 and its partners, Blue Star Families will be able to provide needed resources to military families where they are – through traditional and social media platforms.

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