Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: 'Dependent' (12) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 12

April 5, 2012 at 10:10am

Companies expand job opportunities for spouses

This from Army Times: More employers - including many offering opportunities to work at home - have joined the ranks of those seeking to hire military spouses and veterans, first lady Michelle Obama announced April 4.

Some of the 11 companies that have pledged to bring on more than 15,000 more military spouses and veterans operate call centers with a variety of jobs. Some are near military bases, and some offer jobs wherever spouses are located.

The various jobs are being integrated into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership's online job bank.

The biggest chunk of those jobs will be with Arise Virtual Solutions Inc., which plans to add another 10,000 independent business and client services professionals from the military spouse and veteran community over the next several years.

Read more here.

April 4, 2012 at 2:44pm

Survey tackles issues facing gay troops and their families

This from Stars and Stripes: WASHINGTON - Officials from the Military Partners and Families Coalition are conducting an online survey to see how the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law has affected same-sex partners and what challenges they still face.

The survey, available at, is also designed to highlight those families' continuing problems accessing military benefits. Same-sex military partners are not eligible for housing stipends, Tricare coverage and a host of other benefits open to straight military couples.

In a statement, MPFC president Ariana Bostian?Kentes said the data collection is important because "we are members of a community that for many years has been hidden and not heard from." The research is being conducted in part thanks to an award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the survey will remain open for the next two weeks.

The work comes a little more than a month before the two-day summit by gay rights advocates on military family issues. That conference will include workshops on the rights of same-sex military couples and lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

Filed under: Dependent, Familes,

April 4, 2012 at 1:17pm

First lady pushes base jobs for troops' spouses

From Army Times via AP: WASHINGTON - Opening another front in her nearly year-old campaign to support service families, first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday unveiled a new push for jobs on or near military bases.

She also announced plans to mark the Joining Forces campaign's first anniversary with a two-day, four-state swing next week that will include stops in election battleground states Pennsylvania and Florida and a chat with comedian Stephen Colbert on his show "The Colbert Report."

The Joining Forces organization said it has lined up commitments for more than 15,000 jobs in the coming years. Most will come from telemarketing and customer support companies and will enable the spouses and veterans to work from home.

Mrs. Obama noted these jobs are especially helpful to military families because they move so often across state lines - about 10 times more often than the typical U.S. family.

"We're trying to meet these spouses where they are," she said in a conference call with reporters. "This will make such a huge difference ... When the next set of orders comes in for these families, and they have to move across the country, they'll be able to move these jobs with them."

Ahead of the Joining Forces anniversary, the first lady was visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to distribute Easter treats from the White House pastry shop to military families staying there.

See the rest here.

April 3, 2012 at 2:42pm

Overcome spouse job search fears in 5 easy steps

From Every day I work with military spouses just like you who are looking for a job.  Over time,  I've come to think that spouse job search fears really have something to do with how often you have to look for work.  If you were not a military spouse, looking for a job would be less frequent and it would be on your own terms.  Yet when it comes to a military spouse's career, everything is on everyone else's terms.  It's like the world is saying, "Do it again.  Do it in a different area.  You need to learn something else new.  And, oh, by the way, we need to pay the bills, too.  So hurry up."

No wonder we all have some spouse job search fears.  I know that military spouses do have challenges.   Just like any other challenge in your life, a few specific strategies will help you get over it and get on with it.  Here are some tips that work for my clients:

  1.  Set an "At This Base" goal.  Your long-term goal may be to have a master's degree.  But your reality is that you won't be at an installation long enough to complete that degree.  If you know you will live there for two years, two years is long enough to complete an associate's degree.  Completing an associate's degree at this base now becomes the "at this base goal".  The same thing works for your career.  You may have a goal to be the supervisor of all counselors in county schools.  Two years isn't long enough to reach that goal.  So set a goal of being the most innovative school counselor in the county for the next two years.

For the rest of the steps, click here.

April 3, 2012 at 9:50am

Bill could protect Servicemembers' custody rights

This from Army Times: Sixty-three members of the House Armed Services Committee are backing legislation to protect the child custody rights of service members, but it is unclear if their support is enough to get the protections into law.

Six times, the House has approved child custody provisions that would prevent a court from making a permanent change in child custody arrangements while a service member is deployed and would prohibit a state court from deciding someone is an unfit parent solely because of their military service. It has passed five times as a provision attached to the annual defense policy bill and once as a stand-alone measure.

Each time, the Senate Armed Services Committee has balked at passing the legislation.

But the chief House sponsors, Reps. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, and Rob Andrews, D-N.J., have not given up, and are hoping the collective support of the entire House Armed Services Committee might change some minds.

In a statement, Turner said his goal is to ensure that military parents do not "have to live with the constant fear that their custody rights as parents could be in jeopardy due to their service."

To read the entire story, click here

Filed under: Army News, Dependent, News To Us,

July 28, 2011 at 4:03pm

EFMP officials reflects on growth

When Sybille White sees a problem, she doesn't waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she gets to work on finding solutions.

That's how she ended up starting a working focus group for the Army Community Services Exceptional Family Member Program. The group has monthly meetings where everyone from medical professionals to EFMP members can get together to identify and address problems - and it's grown dramatically since starting five months ago.

"It's beyond our expectations, it really is," she said.

After 23 years as an Army spouse, White has learned a lot. Originally from Germany, life in the Army was a totally different world. Then, when her second child was diagnosed with autism, she had a whole new set of programs and terms to navigate.

After more than two decades of moving her family of five to and from duty stations, she's seen just about everything the Army could throw at her. But even an experienced spouse like her can take up to six months to find resources when an exceptional Family member has a new diagnosis, and life becomes even more complicated when the Family's servicemember is deployed.

It's an issue she brought up at a Transition Update with the Chief of Staff of the Army in 2007. Invited community members got to ask pre-approved questions, and White wanted to know what the Army was going to do to help Families like hers when one parent is gone so much of the time. Following the meeting an aide asked her to send any thoughts she had on the subject to him personally - and she did.

"The United States Army is a great organization, one that is known for helping and supporting Families," she wrote in the cover letter to a six-page outline of a Deployment Support Plan she devised. "However, much more support is needed for Families who have children with disabilities."

White was too inspired by the experience to stop there, though. Stationed in Hawaii at the time, she and another senior spouse lobbied hard to start a focus group to fix the problems that they saw around them.

Not everyone was supportive. A lot of people had an "If it's not broken, don't fix it" attitude.

That wasn't good enough for White.

"The EFMP system is not broken but it needs a lot of help," she said.

What started as a few spouses meeting to talk about their own problems expanded into a formal group attended by everyone from senior leaders to health care providers. It was so successful by the time she left, White was eager to try again when she arrived at JBLM last July.

Now she volunteers as the installation's ACS EFMP Army parent representative, and has helped coordinate a constantly growing group of stakeholders each month. Representatives from McChord, JBLM Child, Youth and School Services, I Corps and individual Families attend to talk about what needs work and how to change it.

"We're the squeaky wheel," ACS EFMP Manager Mary Herrera said at the group's July meeting.

With so much knowledge in the same room, it makes it a little easier to start coordinating efforts between organizations. The hope is that they can begin addressing kinks in the system before they become problems and provide better care for Families.

"The focus group is kind of giving us the opportunity to pull together," ACS EFMP social services assistant Jackie Kelly said.

It also lets Family members know that they are not the only ones having issues.

"It's nice to give folks a forum," Kelly said.

White is quick to point out that she couldn't have done any of this on her own. She's had help from many people around her, including the ones who encouraged her to keep speaking out when it seemed like nobody wanted to listen.

In the end, she doesn't think she's exceptional for making the group happen.

"Anybody could do this," White said.

"It's kind of up to you," she added. "The choice is yours."

To learn more

The ACS EFMP Working Focus Group meets once a month in the ACS Classroom in Waller Hall and is open to anyone. For more information visit the JBLM ACS EFMP Facebook page at!/efmpjblm or call 967-9704 or 967-7166.

Filed under: Familes, Dependent,

July 27, 2011 at 4:33pm

DuPont military spouse prepares for SF Marathon

(San Francisco Chronicle)-- Lisa Hallett runs away her grief.

She runs to pound down the pain left from when her husband, Army Capt. John Hallett, died in an explosion in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. She runs to help heal other military widows. She runs to keep herself healthy, so she can be the best mom she can be for her three small children.

So far, the most she has ever run, at age 30, is 32 miles. But this coming Sunday, Hallett will bring her grief and her healing and her growing crowd of running comrades to San Francisco to try something she has never tried before.

Hallett will attempt an ultra-marathon, or 52.4 miles, as she runs in the annual San Francisco Marathon. She says 26.2 miles has just become too easy for her - and easy alone doesn't properly honor her hero husband.

To read the complete story, click here.

Filed under: Dependent, Sports,

April 4, 2011 at 4:26pm

Month of the Military Child

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Children of U.S. service members around the world will be honored throughout the month of April for their contributions to their families' well-being and sacrifices on behalf of the nation, a Defense Department official said.

Each April, Americans pause to recognize the nation's 1.8 million military children during the Month of the Military Child, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.

"It's really exciting that the Department of Defense, the White House and civic leaders recognize the sacrifices that military children make," said Barbara Thompson, the director of the Pentagon's office of family policy, children and youth. "It's particularly important during these times of conflict, when children are missing their parents and are sacrificing a lot, to say your sacrifice is recognized and we want to commend you for what you do for your family."

Throughout the month, military installations worldwide will host programs and activities for military children, including fairs, picnics, carnivals and parades, Thompson said. Communities also can get involved by sponsoring fun events to celebrate military children.

Military children's sacrifices and contributions have risen to the forefront in recent years, Thompson said, as people have become increasingly aware of the impact a decade of war is having on military families. Along with the typical military-related stressors of multiple moves and schools, children also have had to deal with long-term, multiple deployments and separations from one, or both, parents over the past 10-plus years.

More than 900,000 military children have had a parent deploy multiple times, she added.    

October 18, 2010 at 9:35am

Clover Park gets grant to support students of military members

Students at Mann and Woodbrook Middle Schools and Lakes High School will benefit from a $1.4 million grant recently awarded to Clover Park School District (CPSD) from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Grant money will be used to enhance technology in the three schools to support math and science achievement and greater counseling support for students directly impacted by military deployment, reintegration and other behavioral and family issues.

CPSD's Board of Directors accepted the grant at their Oct. 11 meeting. The plans for spending the grant directly align with the district's Accountability Plan, which was created to help prioritize the work of district employees.

"We are thrilled to receive this grant award, which will help us strengthen our educational services to our schools outside of Joint Base Lewis-McChord with the highest population of military-connected students," said Debbie LeBeau, superintendent of CPSD. "The grant also helps to further reinforce our partnership with our military community as we improve the achievement of military-connected students."

Non military-connected students at Mann, Woodbrook and Lakes will also benefit from the grant.

This is the second grant awarded to CPSD from DoDEA. Last school year, the district received a $2 million grant to expand assessments to track student progress and diagnose skills of new students; expand its student data system to provide individualized achievement information to teachers; provide learning opportunities for students needing additional support; and to enhance college test preparation and continue to increase parental involvement.

Filed under: Dependent, Familes, Lakewood,

September 9, 2010 at 3:21pm

Free Puyallup Fair admission for military

The Puyallup Fair, which kicks off Friday, is offering free admission for active, retired and reserve military and National Guard and their family members, plus disabled veterans with a valid military ID on Sept. 13 and 20.

For more information, visit

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