BSF Newsletter for June 2, 2009

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Blue Star Families Weekly News Round-Up

All the Latest in Everything Blue Star Families

It’s been another busy week for BSF! The highlight was having the honor of being invited to The White House for an amazing meeting with the First Lady and others about military family issues.  More on that below.

If you want your BSF info and links to articles and events  emailed directly to you each Tuesday, JOIN US today!  If you want your info more often than once a week with our Weekly News & Info Roundup, join is on Facebook, follow us on twitter and check out our Blue Star Families Blog

There’s a lot of excitement about Blue Star Families and the best way to make sure you are in the middle of it all is to join your local chapter.  Just shoot Vivian a note at members@bluestarfam.org and she’ll get you connected.

Enjoy! Heidi & The Blue Star Families Team

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BSF Meets with The First Lady and Others to Discuss Military Families

Last week, BSF Founder and President Kathy Roth-Douquet, and Executive Director, Claire Woodward hit the pavement in DC again to make and strengthen Blue Star Families’ relationships with some amazing folks.

Read all about it on Kathy’s blog posting, “The First Lady Quotes BSF Survey (again!) & more from Kathy’s recent trip to DC”.

It’s all VERY exciting!

TODAY Show Scheduled to Feature Blue Star Families Wednesday, June 3

Blue Star Families is scheduled to be featured on the TODAY Show this Wednesday! Our segment in the “Call To Action” series is scheduled to air June 3 between 7:00 and 9:00, most likely in the 8:00 hour. TODAY’s “Call to Action” series aims to get Americans to step up their support for service members and military families. Check out the TODAY Show website (where we are linked!) for more information.

The TODAY Show also wants you to send in a photo of your loved ones in the military. Be sure to mention Blue Star Families in your caption!

Have You Experienced Dramatic Career Changes as a Result of Being a Military Spouse?

If so, you might have the chance to take part in a radio show about dramatic career changes. As military spouses, many of us have followed different career paths than we expected. Did you leave a safe job to persue your dream? If you would like to talk about your experience as a part of a live radio show (June 12 from 9-10 am EST) email AMWhite@BlueStarFam.org.

Institute of Medicine to Start Comprehensive Study of the Needs of All OIF/OEF Vets & their Families ~ Calling for Interested BSF Members in NORTH CAROLINA!

The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies, is carrying out this important study and they are asking for Blue Star Families’ help. The IOM committee that’s carrying out the study will be in North Carolina from June 2-4 — around Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune. If you are interested in potentially participating in town hall meetings in both communities, please let Vivian know by emailing her at members@BlueStarFam.org

Want to be featured on our Blue Star Families Website?

Why is Blue Star Families important to you? What is YOUR military family story? Let us know by sending your story and photo of you (and your military family if you like) to Rebekah at rebekahsanderlin@hotmail.com and you just might see yourself on the Blue Star Families website!

Reassuring Op-Ed Piece in The Flagship

Our own Casey Spurr penned a touching op-ed called Duty on the Homefront in a recent edition of Hampton Roads’ “The Flagship”. Casey, who is Blue Star Families’ Director of Programs, puts an eloquent voice to the internal struggle most of us feel as military spouses from time to time ~ and comes to a reassuring conclusion that ties us all together. Enjoy!

Touching Piece on Parenting.com

Be sure to check out Anita Tedali’s poignant piece titled The Children of Military Families on Parenting.com. She shares so wonderfully with other parents not so familiar with the military family lifestyle, the perspective of our little ones’ during deployments. Great work Anita!

Military Moms Hit NPR’s Tell Me More

‘For Family, for Country’ Military Moms Do It All For moms who are on active duty, meeting professional obligations while raising a family can be a tricky and challenging balance. Lt. Carey Lohrenz (ret.), Lt. Cmdr. Lina Maloney (ret.) and Pilar Artega, a petty officer first class in the Navy, discuss parenting in the military.

New Independent Documentary ~ Follow the Film’s Progress and Meet the Participants & Crew

Operation Ultimate Goal is film about honor, courage and commitment – core values of The US Marine Corps. The title story is from Iraq’s al Anbar province where in 2008, Marines created a soccer league for Iraqi children. The film follows such stories through interviews and live action video shot on location. Check out the website for more info.

In the News:

Homeowners Assistance Program Expanded for some Servicemembers

Congress has included $555 million in the economic stimulus package under a temporarily expanded Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) to provide eligible military and DoD civilians some reimbursement for losses they may incur on the sale of their primary residence in conjunction with certain types of moves.

There are three groups affected by the expansion of the HAP: 1. Warriors in Transition with a 30% or greater disability (i.e. wounded service members relocating for treatment or medical retirement), and the survivors of fallen service members killed in the line of duty or who have died on deployment on or after September 11, 2001, 2. Service members and DoD civilians affected by the BRAC05, and 3. Service members and DoD civilians suffering a loss on the sale of their home as a result of a permanent change of station (PCS). For categories 2 and 3, the expansion of the program will expire by September 20, 2012 (or at an earlier date designated by the Secretary of Defense). For category 1, eligibility for the expanded HAP is not temporary.

For more information on the HAP, list of FAQ’s or to apply, visit the HAP web site at http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://hap.usace.army.mil/

Spouse Career Program Expanded Nationwide

Beginning mid-May 2009, DoD is expanding the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA).

Though the pilot program was available to E1 to E5 and 0-1 to 0-3 spouses in eight states and 18 installations, the expanded program will allow eligible military spouses of active duty and activated Guard and Reserve servicemembers in all ranks — and worldwide — to receive up to $6,000 of financial assistance, paid directly to their school, to help pay for expenses associated with pursuing a portable career, including tuition, fees, books, and equipment.

Originally limited to only E1 to E5 and 0-1 to 0-3 spouses, military spouses of active duty and activated Guard and Reserve service members in all ranks now will be able to apply for MyCAAs. For more information, visit Military OneSource http://www.facebook.com/l/;(www.militaryonesource.com).

Thanks to MOAA’s Sue Hoppin (& BSF Member!) for this great info!

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