My oldest son and his family made an overseas PCS move right before the pandemic and subsequent closures hit in early 2020. To say the least, it’s been difficult to make connections and plug into a new community when in-person interaction is limited. I know many other military families are in the same boat right now.
And what about military spouses who are used to volunteering and giving back? Or those wanting to meet up with friends and fellow spouses to provide and receive support? All those avenues have been cut off for the foreseeable future.
Good news! Many nonprofits, official DOD programs, and other companies have responded with ways for military spouses to connect, whether it’s by attending seminars, meeting over Zoom calls, or volunteering—there’s even a “virtual military ball!”
Take a look at some virtual opportunities and connections for military spouses!
1) Veteran’s Spouse Project Virtual Military Ball
This one is time sensitive, so be sure to sign up ASAP!
From the Veteran’s Spouse Project:
“Traditions are essential to the military community. It’s how we remember and honor the lineage of our units, our brothers and sisters in arms, and our fallen. One of our most beloved traditions is the military ball. Traditionally this has been an event reserved for those in uniforms and their spouses, but our civilian friends have always been enamored by the elusive military ball. Aligning with VSP’s mission of building bridges between civilian and military communities and inspired by the ingenious ways we have seen individuals and groups adapt and provide a COVID twist on the events, now felt like the perfect time to draw back the curtain and bring us all together under one virtual roof.
On February 25, The Veteran’s Spouse Project is hosting the first ever virtual military ball fundraiser, The Honoring All Military Ball, with guest speaker Deanie Dempsey, spouse of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chief General Martin Dempsey, excerpts from the original play ‘I Will Wait,’ and a nod to the traditions that tie the military community together. With your access to the event you will receive a ‘Table for Two’ interactive ball box with wine tumblers, items to create your own fallen soldier table, and other surprises!”
2) Virtual Volunteer Opportunities Through Soldiers’ Angels
While it may seem that traditional volunteer opportunities have come to a standstill, Soldiers’ Angels has adapted to the shutdowns and is providing many avenues for those looking to serve the military and veteran communities.
From Soldiers’ Angels:
“Soldiers’ Angels has thousands of virtual volunteers or ‘Team Angels’ from around the world that work to provide support for deployed service members, military families, wounded heroes, and veterans of all eras. These talented Angels provide a wide variety of unique items and services for our troops and veterans ranging from care packages, to cards and letters, to hand-crafted items for hospitalized veterans or new military babies. Since all of the Team Angel opportunities are completely virtual, volunteers have the flexibility to volunteer from wherever they are living and can complete their activities whenever they would like! Team Angels track their volunteer hours and activities through the Soldiers’ Angels database.”
3) Military Spouse Advocacy Network
Are you a new military spouse looking for a mentor? Needing support or information for your military spouse life? Connect with the Military Spouse Advocacy Network! MSAN offers webinars, round table discussion, mentorship opportunities, and much more.
From the MSAN site:
“MSAN is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to create stronger military families through Education, Empowerment, and Support. Our Military Spouse Mentorship-HUB helps to bridge military families from every branch of the Armed Forces and their surrounding communities in locations around the world through a Virtual Education and Resource Center, New Military Spouse Support Program, and Leadership Development Program. MSAN’s collaborations with official military installations, Department of Defense (DoD) resources, and trusted partner organizations provide a structured and personal approach through a One-of-a-Kind Peer-to-Peer Mentorship experience, building long-term connections to local and national resources expanding the military family Sense of Community.”
4) Blue Star Families Town Hall Series
Blue Star Families was founded to strengthen and empower military families. To that end, they are committed to groundbreaking research and committed partnerships, including keeping military families informed of the latest news.
5) Just Moved Ministry
A donor supported ministry, Just Moved has provided encouragement for women uprooted through a move for over 25 years. Join the Just Moved Community for a free download of 5 Things Every Newcomer Needs to Know, a one-time discount in the Just Moved Shop, email contact with other JMC members in your area (with your permission), access to discussion and connection in the Just Moved Community Facebook group, and more! They will also donate a complete After the Boxes Are Unpacked study to any military chapel who provides a facilitator.
From the Just Moved site:
“The Just Moved Community grew out of a vision to help women around the world who have recently moved to find encouragement for the unique challenges that uprooted women face. The Just Moved Community will help to give you the courage to start over, move ahead, and put down roots all over again.”
6) USO Military Spouse Connections
The USO (United Services Organization) has a long history of support for military members and families. They’ve now taken many of their military spouse programs online!
Find out more about virtual events and the USO Coffee Connections, an hour long “coffee chat” between a USO military spouse and an influential guest where they discuss topics that are relevant and trending within the military spouse community.
7) AWAG (Americans Working Around the Globe)
AWAG is well known overseas in Germany, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy for its conferences and support for military spouses. Their mission is to Train, Strengthen, and Connect leaders in military communities.
“Throughout the years, AWAG seminars have provided a unique opportunity for leaders to obtain the necessary training and guidance to govern their organizations more effectively, as well as interact with other leaders in similar communities. Although times and fashions have changed, the delegate from over 50 years ago would find a kindred spirit in today’s seminar participant. AWAG remains committed to its mission of building leaders to strengthen and connect communities around the globe.”
8) Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO)
MySECO, from MIlitary OneSource, is continuing to offer virtual events to support military spouses as they further their careers. The site is constantly updated!
I hope that’s a start for you as you look to connect virtually! Be sure to also take a look at your local spouses’ groups and military installation family support services. Many of these are offering more flexible and virtual opportunities as the pandemic continues.
Did I miss something awesome? Leave a comment and I may add it to this list!