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Weekly News Round-Up for August 18

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. smallestbluestarfamilylogo.jpgBlue Star Families Weekly News Round-Up

All the Latest in Everything Blue Star Families

Summer is wrapping up, but the opportunities for Blue Star Families members to get more involved in their local chapter are ramping up!   It’s also a great time to start brushing up on professional skills to take advantage of the recent news of preferential hiring of military spouses for federal jobs.  Read all about these opportunities and much more below.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. BSF-logoFINAL71509.jpgWe are working hard on the creation of our new Blue Star Families website and online community which is expected to launch this month.  Check out below how YOU can help make connecting together even easier and more exciting.

Remember, if you want BSF info and links to articles and events more than once a week with our Weekly News & Info Roundup, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our Blue Star Families Blog.

If you received our Weekly News Round-Up from a friend or co-worker, please join us today.  Blue Star Families is an exciting new way for all types of military family members from all ranks and services (and our supporters!) to Support, Connect and Empower one another.  Just go to the JOIN US page on our site www.BlueStarFam.org.

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

Federal Jobs Preference for Military Spouses

Federal agencies will soon have the option to hire military spouses without having them compete through traditional hiring methods. Under new guidelines issued by the Office of Professional Management (OPM), military spouses will be able to request that recruiters use non-traditional hiring methods in reviewing their applications.

These new guidelines affect military spouses who move because of a new assignment, some physically disabled spouses, and widows and widowers whose spouses were killed in the line of duty and remain unmarried. The guidelines become effective September 11, 2009.  Read more about it on our blog.

BSF Fayetteville NC Chapter Hosting Books on Bases and Needs YOUR Help!

Our Fayetteville NC Chapter will proudly be presenting Books On Bases, Smiles On Faces, presented by Blue Star Families and K.I.D.S. on September 10.  This important event will be the kick-off for our national effort to host similar events with chapters EVERY quarter.

Here’s how YOU can get involved:

If you live in or around Fayetteville and want to help plan the event, can lend space to store the 4,000 books we’ll be giving away in the weeks leading up to the event and/or be on hand to help the day of the event, just shoot a note to Vivian TODAY at vgreentree@bluestarfam.org.

If you’re not close to the Fayetteville area and want more information about hosting your own event, send an email to

Want to be Featured on The Military Channel or The Virginian Pilot?

Blue Star Families is THE place for military families and folks in the national media are coming to us to help them tell our stories.  Here are two exciting opportunities, but you must email us NOW if you are interested!

The Military Channel’s
“Return Salute” is like Make-A-Wish for service members and their families. The show will tell the human side of the current conflicts and will profile service members who have returned from deployment within in the past year, or have a very compelling story.  We are looking for stories along the lines of multiple deployments, missing births, or similar moving scenarios. Each service member profiled would be granted a wish at the end of each episode.

For more information, email AnnaMaria TODAY at amwhite@bluestarfam.org


Make Room for Baby: What’s involved, challenges, best tips, your experience, etc. We want to hear YOUR story if you live in Southeastern Virginia and are expecting or recently had a little one. Tell us about your experience–from challenges and 
anticipation to failures and/or successes along the way. Are you a professional or seasoned military parent who may have something to contribute?  If so, email AnnaMaria TODAY at amwhite@bluestarfam.org

Touching Story about the Effect of Multiple Deployments on Kids

Blue Star Families’ Allison Buckholtz is the author of Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War, proud mother of Ethan (6) and concerned about the effect of multiple deployments on our military kids.  Check out her blog “A Peace Sign”

“What are you drawing?” I asked my son Ethan, as he swirled paint on paper one quiet afternoon at our house.

“A welcome home sign,” he answered.

“For who?”

“For Daddy.”

Ethan is 6 years old, and though he has a sly sense of humor, he doesn’t yet appreciate irony. So I couldn’t laugh, even though my husband Scott, an active-duty Navy pilot, left for a year-long assignment in Iraq just two days ago. With training and travel, Scott will be away close to 14 months, so Ethan’s welcome home sign comes about 410 days too early. I didn’t tell him that, of course. If he can find solace through art, or anything constructive, I’m thrilled. It’s better than crying for four hours straight, as he did the night Scott left.

Read the rest of her touching story on our blog. Originally published at Alison’s Deployment Diary on Double X.

Free Virtual Job Training Series for Military Spouses & Vets

Military Spouse Career Corporate Network, a non-profit corporate direct hire program, is offering a free virtual job training series starting with Tuesday, September 1 with “Developing your Elevator Speech and Networking”, and then followed on Tuesday, September 15 with “Desperate is NOT a Job Title”.  If you would like more info or to sign up for either or both of the seminars, check out this flyer or MSCCN’s website.

Pentagon Says: “We Want to Hear From You” & Launches http://www.Defense.gov

The Defense Department is proud to announce the launch of  www.Defense.gov , the redesigned the Defense Department Web site which now uses social networking tools to engage the American public — particularly 18- to 24-year-olds. To read the whole story, check out this DefenseLink News article.

Special Invitation for BSF Members around Ft.Knox & Louisville, Kentucky

The American Legion is hosting a Military Families Forum, a Town Hall style even near Ft. Knox.  They and other Military Family advocates, want to hear from YOU and your family about what military families are going through and how they can help.

They are also looking for a military family member near Louisville to speak briefly to their new team of AmeriCorps VISTA members on August 24 at 10:00 am

If you would like more info or are interested in attending, please email Vivian at vgreentree@bluestarfam.org today!

VFW Free Calls Home Surpasses 3 Million!

Veterans of Foreign Wars provides free calls home from deployed service members via their “VFW Operation Uplink” Free Call Days.  To read more about this terrific program, check out their website.

Elmo to the Rescue!

Sesame Workshop is thrilled to announce the launch Sesame Rooms, their latest effort to help military families in ways that only Muppets can.   The campaign is designed to brighten up military spaces for kids with Sesame cheer.  The flagship Sesame Room makeover was at the PAX Family Lounge at McGuire Air Force Base.  Check out the before and after photos and more info about this terrific program here.

Yellow Ribbon Program Helps Reintegration

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program was established under the 2008 National Defense Authorization . The program’s goal is to prepare service members and their families for deployment, sustain the family and service member through deployment and help reintegrate them back into their civilian communities when they return.  Read more about this fantastic program on our blog and in a recent DefenseLink News article.

Calling All Professional and Serious Amateur Photographers

Blue Star Families is an amazing group created BY military families FOR military families.  So, who better to take fabulous photos of all aspects of military family life than our members?!?

If you are a professional or serious amateur photographer, we’d love to have you capture some great images of the military family experience (homecomings, send-offs, weddings, graduations, BSF events, parades etc.) and we’ll give you photo credit on our new site.  If you are interested and want more information email Stephanie at stephanie@bluestarfam.org

EXCITING NEWS! New BSF Website and On-Line Community in the Works

We’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a new on-line community for BSF members and we expect to have it up in August.  But to build the best site we can, we need YOUR help!

VIDEOS: We want to hear AND see all our fantastic BSF members and give families with deployed service members a chance to shout out a special greeting to their loved one. Grab your video camera and record a 30 second max video, and get it ready to upload to YouTube.  We really want to hear how BSF connects, supports and empowers you as a military family.  For more details, email stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

PHOTOS: Send us 3 or 4 photos of you and your family at key military lifestyle points ~ weddings, deployments, homecomings etc…, and you might see them up on the new site.  High resolution is always best and no camera phone photos please (except iPhones).  Send your photos to
stephanie@bluestarfam.org today!

BLOGGERS & WRITERS We’re going to be highlighting all the great stuff the BSF family does everyday, both as local chapters and as individuals.  Here’s your chance to jump in and help share these stories, both as a blogger and as an interviewer.  If you would like to be a guest blogger and can write from your own experience about the following lifestyles, please let Stephanie know by emailing her at stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

  • National Guard & Reserve
  • New to Military Life
  • Little Ones In Tow
  • In the Work Force
  • In For The Long Haul (military spouses of about 10 years or more)
  • When HE is the Spouse
  • Military Moms, Dads & Family
  • Veterans & Mentor Spouses
  • Civilians Who Support Us


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